“Au Cirque” is one of Pablo Picasso first drawings. It is a 1954 coloured crayon drawing by the iconic Spanish Cubist, with an estimated value of R3 to R3.5 million. Auctioned by the Stephan Welz & Co. Fine and Decorative Arts Sale on Tuesday 7 June, it is a masterpiece that every art collector should have.
This isn’t the first that Au Cirque is auctioned. The drawing auction journey started in 1990 where it was sold for $154 000 by Sothebys, New York and again in 2006 for $240 000 at another Sothebys Impressionist sale in New York.
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The drawing is one of several with the same title as a series of sketches Picasso made of activities at the circus. The drawing, depicting a topless woman, two men and a horse, featured recurring themes in Picasso’s circus sketches.
Picasso’s inspiration for these figures and other masculine characters in his piece can be traced to his Spanish childhood and his familiarity with Don Quixote – A Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes. Circus performers also signified for him the golden age of painting and allowed him to escape the limitations of contemporary subject matter.
At first glance, it appeared very naive, but it worked on several planes, perspectives and depth. It’s initially simple, but in reality not that simple
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Pablo Picasso is probably the most important figure of the 20th century, in terms of art. There had been no other artists, prior to Picasso, who had such an impact on the art world, or had a mass following of fans and critics alike, as he did.
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