Behind the Art: Is Garçon à la pipe (Boy with a Pipe), 1905 by Pablo Picasso, worth $104,168,000?

Pablo Picasso painted his fifth best-selling painting Garçon à la pipe (Boy with a Pipe) when he was 24 years old in 1905. This masterpiece was created during his Rose Period, shortly after he settled in the Montmartre section of Paris, France. . this oil in canvas painting it depicts a Parisian boy holding a pipe in his left hand and wearing a garland or wreath of flowers. The artwork is listed as one of the most expensive. paintings, after being sold at Sotheby’s auction for $104 million on May 5, 2004 and is currently part of a private collection. Why did Picasso choose to paint this? Is it worth $104 million?

Story behind the art and the boy with a pipe

Behind the Art: Is Garçon à la pipe (Boy with a Pipe), 1905 by Pablo Picasso, worth $104,168,000? inline 5 This oil on canvas painting depicts a Parisian boy holding a pipe in his left hand and wearing a garland or crown of flowers. (Photo: wikiart.org)

Picasso was not always so well known and appreciated during his early years as an artist. In 1905, at the age of 24, he was still a struggling artist living in poverty in a dilapidated artists’ building on Montmartre in Paris. He had recently moved on from his blue period in which he only painted with shades of blue and green. He was now in a new and more optimistic phase known as his Rose period. He wanted to use more colors than blue on the canvas and his subject for this painting was a local boy named P’tit Louis who died at a young age. Very little is known about the boy and his background. According to a variety of sources, the boy was a model in his late teens who hung around picasso studio and volunteered to pose for the oil work. Picasso’s comments about the boy were that he was one of the “local types, actors, ladies, gentlemen, criminals… He would stay there, sometimes all day. He saw me work. He loved that. It was clear that either Picasso did not want the world to know who the child was, or he himself did not know the child. However, as an artist, he spent a lot of time deciding the position in which he wanted to paint the child. After much repositioning of the model, Picasso decided to go with the boy seated, holding a pipe. The boy is dressed in blue overalls and has a garland of roses on his head. André Salmon, a friend of Picasso’s, described in 1912 how he had transformed what was originally a study of life into the current artwork in a sudden flash of inspiration when adding the flowers.” One night, Picasso left the company of his friends and his intellectual talk. He returned to his study, took the canvas that he had abandoned a month before, and crowned the figure of the little apprentice with roses. He had made this work a masterpiece thanks to a sublime caprice.”

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Picasso’s depiction of “P’tit Louis” also has classical style elements. Art. He was inspired by the work of the French neoclassical painter Ingres. Like Picasso’s Girl with a Basket of Flowers, which was painted the same year, Garçon à la Pipe conveys conflicting images of innocence and experience. Picasso described the boy as an “evil angel.” In this painting, the child wears a garland of roses on his head to symbolize the blood of the Eucharist, referring to the passage from youth to maturity. picasso it also represents the contrast between the harsh street life Louis endured and the innocence of his youth.

Criticism and impact on popular culture

The painting was first purchased by John Hay Whitney in 1950 for $30,000 and then on May 5, 2004, the painting sold for $104,168,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in New York City. Sotheby’s did not reveal the name of the buyer, although sources say it was Guido Barilla, owner of the Barilla Group. At the time, it broke the record for the amount paid for a painting at auction. The staggering price of the painting caused several art historians to question its value. Many art critics have argued that the high selling price of Garçon à la pipe has much more to do with the artist’s name than with the merit or historical importance of the painting. frame. According to press reports, Picasso expert Pepe Karmel arrived in New York the morning after the sale and was stunned to learn the price. He was quoted as saying “that a nice lesser painting might be priced appropriately for a true Picasso masterpiece. This just shows how divorced the market is from the true values ​​of art.” However, some genuinely appreciate this painting and say that it celebrates images of adolescent beauty and is one of the most beautiful paintings of Picasso’s Rose Period.

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Whether Picasso simply wanted to practice portrait painting or change the landscape of modern art, as a poor 24-year-old artist, he never would have thought his painting would fetch such a high price. the worth painting It not only shocked art critics, but also shocked the entertainment industry. Calvin Harris’ 2017 song “Slide” contains the lyrics “I could empty out my bank account and buy that boy with a pipe.” Vocalist Frank Ocean explained that it is an allusion to “a Picasso painting that sold for so much money.” It is quite evident that regardless of the historical importance and relevance of the painting, owning a Picasso painting is a status symbol in and of itself.

next in Behind the Art: What is the significance of Picasso’s Dora Maar au Chat, which is currently the artist’s sixth best-selling painting?

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