pencil on paper
11,5 x 8,5 cm (4 1/2 x 3 3/8 in.)
verso signed and inscribed 'a toi Gaby de tout mon coeur'
The portrait of Gaby Lespinasse is a rare testimony to Picasso's love affair with Gabrielle Depeyre, that was concealed for a long time, whom the artist probably got to know in 1915 and with whom he had a relationship until 1916. At that time Picasso was in a relationship with Eva Gouel, who had tuberculosis and died shortly afterwards. Picasso was obviously in love with Gaby, as he called her, and gave her drawings and portraits, which he often inscribed with intimate messages. However, Gaby was in a relationship with the Franco-American Herbert Lespinasse, whom she had promised to marry, and was already using his name. The affair with Picasso, which had to be kept secret because of Lespinasse, did not prevent Gaby from marrying Lespinasse. Not only did she thus refuse Picasso, but Gaby often erased his love messages from the drawings she was given. The affair only became publicly known in the 1980s, long after the death of the Lespinasse couple. The delicate, gentle drawing shows the portrait of a young woman with an open look, cheeky bangs and playful curls - an indication of Picasso's affection. On the back is a rare testimony to Picasso's love, because he dedicated it to Gaby with the words "a toi Gaby de tout mon coeur" - "for you, Gaby, with all my heart".