Maya Widmaier-Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Le pot de fleurs sur fond noir was painted on 25 July 1932, during the Summer that Pablo Picasso largely spent at the Château de Boisgeloup with his young lover, Marie-Thérèse Walter. During the course of 1932, as Picasso's affair with Marie-Thérèse became more open, the artist created a string of sensual pictures that are infused with sensuality, reflecting the heady atmosphere of romance at the château that he had recently purchased as a country home. During the Summer in particular, when Picasso's wife and son were holidaying at Juan-les-Pins, Picasso created numerous works that were filled with the lyricism brought about by his relationship. In Le pot de fleurs sur fond noir, while Marie-Thérèse's features are absent, she is present by proxy in the form of the blooms that burst with incandescent colour from their vase, thrust all the more into vivacious relief by the contrast with the dark background. At the same time, Picasso created many images of Marie-Thérèse which featured flowers within the composition, for instance his Nature morte aux tulipes from March of the same year. In that oblique portrait of Marie-Thérèse, Picasso showed a bust sporting her features, adorned with a garland reminiscent of ancient statuary and arcane worship, with the colourful flowers of the title before it. Likewise, flowers and plants were present in the background of many of Picasso's pictures of Marie-Thérèse as a nude from the same year, for instance Femme couchée now in the Musée national d'Art moderne, Paris.
Flowers, for many artists, have long served as a pretext for an exploration of pictorial poetry, and also crucially of colour. This was also the case in Picasso's still life compositions of flowers throughout his career, even during the Blue Period. However it was in part Marie-Thérèse's influence, or the liberation that came with Picasso's relationship with the lithe, sporty young woman, that brought about a new freedom in the artist's palette during the early 1930s. It was now used to more direct, expressive and expressionistic ends, as is the case here. In Le pot de fleurs sur fond noir, the ochres and other muted tones of the recent so-called Neo-Classical period have been dispersed by this blaze of yellow, red, purple and green. The anxiety of Picasso's more recent Surreal paintings has likewise been supplanted by joyous, caressing brushstrokes and bright colours that recall the sensuousness of the pictures of his friend and artistic rival, Henri Matisse, in the South of France.