Pablo Picasso’s artwork ‘The Open Window’ auctioned for the first time
The Open Window is a work of startling visual power, scaled and rendered impressively with a bold color palette and direct manipulation. This intricate and compelling studio scene, painted on November 22, 1929, is part of a series of studio works that Picasso began around 1926, richly symbolic and radically constructed paintings that reveal the artist’s multiple interests at the time. Other works in this series can be found in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris, Le Center Pompidou. The open window is a rich source of personal and artistic symbolism. It is a still life, a veiled studio scene and a surreal distortion of reality.
Two very abstract figures stand in the foreground of this painting. A plaster bust on the right appears to be a disguised image of the artist’s great lover and muse at the time, Marie-Thérèse Walter. The figurative object on the left, a tangle of feet interspersed with an arrow, is considered an abstract and symbolic representation of Picasso himself. In the background, there are two spiers of the Sainte-Clotilde church. According to John Richardson, this work depicts the secret Left Bank apartment that Picasso and Marie-Thérèse shared as a refuge during their relationship. A configuration of abstract objects is shown in the foreground in an arrangement reminiscent of the artist’s earlier Cubist still lifes.
Olivier Camu, Vice-President, Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie’s: “Presented in the same European collection for half a century, this powerful and explosively colored painting from the height of Picasso’s surrealist period and two years after his clandestine love story with Marie-Thérèse, represents a brilliant fusion of the various passions and inspirations that defined the artist’s life in the late 1920s. Savoring the secretive nature of their romance, Picasso couldn’t help but d include the presence of her lover in the form of the plaster bust of this painting. Maria Theresa’s presence in Picasso’s life invigorated all areas of his work, his sculptural form and radiant beauty, as well as his youthful and carefree sensibility, inspiring the artist to create works that are the finest in his career. This metamorphosed and cryptically coded work stands as a fascinating self-portrait of Picasso and his golden-haired muse, which we are delighted to bring to market for the first time as a major highlight of the 21st edition of The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale. .”
Although Marie-Thérèse did not appear in full form in the artist’s work until the spring of 1931, when he created the sentry-like plaster busts, her profile and her hair are immediately identifiable in The Open Window. . Her presence in the artist’s life and art was unknown at the time, but the iconic visual language that Picasso developed in his depictions of her, in profile and with the luminous white face, was already present.
The Open Window was included in Picasso’s historical retrospective of 1932, which was first shown at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris from June to July, before moving to the Kunsthaus in Zurich from September to October. The painting was also included in the seminal exhibition “Dada, Surrealism and Their Legacy” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1968.
Picasso’s Open Window will be exhibited in New York from February 4 to 8, 2022, and in Hong Kong from February 15 to 17, 2022, before traveling to London from February 23 to March 1, 2022.