One of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso’s original artworks will go on auction in Cape Town in June. The drawing, called “Au Cirque”, was first sold in New York in 1990 and again in 2006. The 1954 coloured crayon drawing is aimed at a 20th century audience and was influenced by Picasso’s Spanish childhood and circus performers.
The drawing will go on auction at the Stephan Welz Decorative Art Sale on June 07.
The Au Cirque, or “At the Circus”, was first sold in New York in 1990 for $154 000 and again in 2006 for $240 000.
According to auctioneer Anton Welz, the drawing may have originally been acquired in New York by a family who immigrated to South Africa, where it was again sold to another seller who can now sign it up with Stephan Welz for sale.
The piece was created as a tribute to two of Picasso’s idols; Diego Velazquez who is famous for 17th century Spanish nobility, and Rembrandt van Rijn-a Dutch master who was credited for being a key influence of Picasso’s own work.
Art critic Shaun O ‘Toole explains, “This work comes after the revolution- as we say. Therefore it was not created in the heat of the moment, but at the same time it reflects a number of his key themes. One of them is the figure of the clown or the circus environment and that is a consistent theme in his work.”
O ‘Toole says one of Picasso’s later works, a 1955 painting known as Version O, sold for $179 million last year, the highest recorded price paid for an auctioned artwork. “For anyone looking at this, you have to look at Picasso in his longer sweep of his history and I think the Picasso that looms large in everyone’s mind is the young man who went to Paris and, with a group of friends, reinvented painting, taking it from a very figurative form to something abstract.”
The Au Cirque will start bidding at about R3 million.