Pablo Picasso | Two Cubist Portraits Are Making Their Way To Hong Kong
Art3 Minutes Read

Pablo Picasso | Two Cubist Portraits Are Making Their Way To Hong Kong

April 27, 2022 Share

Two Pablo Picasso Portraits including one owned by Sean Connery head to auction in Hong Kong.

My favourite thing in the world is to give you insights into all the biggest and best things in life. One such individual who had made an extraordinary contribution to society is a Spanish artist and worldwide legend – Pablo Picasso.

Picasso was a painter, sculptor, ceramist, paint maker and stage designer, playwright, and poet regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the co-invention of the collage and the invention of the constructed sculpture, Picasso’s work has continued to inspire artists in all corners of the globe.

Pablo Picasso
Portrait of Pablo Picasso. Gjon Mili The LIFE Picture Collection

In 1937 Picasso became the most famous artist after making significant contributions to symbolism and surrealism. Now Picasso is, without a doubt, one of my favourite artists. There is something in his acceptance of what life is that seems child-like; it’s as if he was playing with his form and colour like toys throughout his entire artistic career. He revolutionised art when he and Matisse’s art arrived, signifying a change from impressionism to post-impressionism to a whole new image of what a painting could be. 

So, you can imagine the excitement when art lovers, collectors and enthusiasts alike found out that two of his great masterpieces, the 1939 painting Dora Maar and the 1969 painting Buste d’homme dans un cadre, are heading to auction in Hong Kong. This announcement was made by competing auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s after a statement was released indicating that the sales are scheduled to occur this April and May due to the high demand for Spanish modernism in the Asia Pacific region.

Pablo Picasso
This artwork is called “cubist 9” by Thomas C. Fedro. This painting was made in 1969. Thomas C. Fedro is famous for using very bright colours in his artwork.

Interestingly, Buste d’homme dans un cadre is being sold from the estate of former James Bond actor Sean Connery, who died in 2020. On May 26, the piece from his collection is expected to fetch a price of $19 million (HK $150 million) at Christie’s in Hong Kong. On the other hand, his piece Dora Maar is estimated to fetch over $17.6 million (HK $138 million) at Sotheby’s outpost in Hong Kong.

The dark-haired beauty Dora Maar was the muse of Pablo Picasso during the 1930s and ’40s. This portrait is presented with both a profile and a full face. Then, one eye is shown looking inward toward herself. The eyelashes of this eye are painted to emphasise this inward direction, yet the pupil looks straight out. 

Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso, Portrait de Dora Maar (Portrait of Dora Maar)

The other eye, which Picasso has surprisingly painted red, looks out at the world and us; while the red shows intensity, the curves and symmetry of this eye give it serenity. Picasso was the first painter to show two aspects of a face in this form simultaneously, and it has an essential meaning in our lives – two sides of a person reflected through emotion.

Buste d’homme dans un cadre (Bust of a Man in a Frame), the prized possession of Connery, was bought a few years before his death, aged 90, in October 2020. Alongside his illustrious acting career, Connery was also an avid art collector. Picasso created this piece as part of the Musketeers series – after a 17th-century triple portrait by French painter Philippe de Champaigne. 

Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Buste d’homme dans un cadre. Courtesy of Christie’s. Featuring Sean Connery.

Beginning with Cubism, Picasso often represented his subjects from multiple angles, so it is clear that this triple portrait from the age of the musketeers appealed to him. 

In the painting, the protagonist is depicted with black eyes and a goatee – resembling Cardinal Richelieu from Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. Clad in 17th-century European costume, these figures are reminiscent of the epoch’s swashbuckling masculinity.

Who knows what top bid will win over a legends masterpiece once more?

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Author: Michelle Laver
Buste d'homme dans un cadre
Cubist movement
Dora Maar
Hong Kong
James Bond
Pablo Picasso
Sean connery