Galerie Michael is pleased to present a carefully curated selection of our most exclusive, museum quality works. As the year comes to a close, our team has chosen this select number of masterpieces—arranged by respective artists—to showcase the gallery’s “best ofs.” Galerie Michael is committed to providing our clients with fine art of the highest quality, and we invite you to admire this group of our most extraordinary compositions.

 Le Femme au Fauteuil No. 1, d’après le rouge (1948) • Pablo PICASSO (1881-1973)

Pablo PICASSO (1881-1973)
Le Femme au Fauteuil No. 1, d’après le rouge (1948) 

Lithograph using sandpaper, needle, pen, crayon and brush on zinc
The second of six states. Executed 13 December 1948 on the plate of the red second state of Mourlot 133. One of 6 proofs reserved for the artist and printer. Initialed and inscribed “134, 2 état” and numbered 6/6 verso in pencil by Fernand Mourlot. Arches watermark. Each zinc color plate of Mourlot 133a was reworked into a developed study and was scraped, polished out and redrawn each day. There was no edition of this state.
Mourlot 134; Bloch 586
27 1/4 x 21 1/2 in. (69.2 x 54.6 cm)
Framed Dimensions 43 ½ x 35 ½ inches
404886 

ACCESS THE ARTWORK PAGE

 A masterpiece of unparalleled quality, Le Femme au Fauteuil No. 1, d’après le rouge (1948), or “Armchair Woman No. 1, from the red,” by Pablo Picasso is stylistically diverse and incorporates a wide range of iconography unique to the master artist’s oeuvre. The piece, which belongs to Picasso’s prolific Femme au Fauteuil series, is provocative by nature—in subject matter as well as composition. Considered to be one of Picasso’s most prolific achievements in the graphic medium, the Femme au Fauteuil series is inspired by an eventful trip to Poland in November of 1948. While attending a Peace Conference there, the artist acquired an elegant leather and wool coat. Following his return to Paris, Picasso discovered extraordinary inspiration in the coat. Then, in a flurry of creativity, the artist identified a meaningful and aesthetically pleasing union between the style of his new coat and that of the antique armchair adorning his studio. Confident in his vision, Picasso began to form a harmonious conjunction between these prized objects—inserting them into the series as ornaments to the primary subject, Gilot. Initially intending to realize his vision through a massive lithographic portrait composed of five colours, Picasso soon abandoned this idea. Instead, the artist utilized five zinc plates, each with a unique image, in order to develop his final subject through successive states.

A fascinating representation of his then lover, Françoise Gilot, Armchair Woman No. 1, from the red is largely characterized by its dramatic juxtaposition between light and darkness. In many ways, this striking contrast between color speaks to the duality of the pair’s relationship—an unapologetically complicated union devised of great passion, as well as pain. Most notably, Armchair Woman No. 1, from the red belongs to what is accepted as the artist’s “mid-career,” (1938-1953)—a period widely regarded as one of the most expressive chapters of his artistic career. Despite the turmoil that surrounded the final years of Picasso and Gilot’s relationship, the artist captures a certain clarity in the work produced during this period. His portrayal of Gilot in Armchair Woman No. 1, from the red exemplifies his unique ability to mesh the styles most significant to the history of modern art—Surrealism, Expressionism and Cubism. Here, Picasso’s highly stylized rendering of Gilot is undoubtedly bold in form and continues to perplex viewers across the globe due to its distinctive approach to design and disregard for artistic convention.

Armchair Woman No. 1, from the red survives as a timeless emblem of Picasso’s true genius—his capacity to master virtually every artistic medium. Furthermore, the piece stands out in the Femme au Fauteuil series as an intimate expression of his dynamic relationship with Gilot. At its core, the composition represents what is perhaps best described by the famed photographer and friend of Picasso, Brassaï, who once suggested Gilot to be a person of ‘freshness and restless vitality’. Galerie Michael is pleased to present Armchair Woman No. 1, from the red, a masterpiece integral to a private museum quality collection, to viewers worldwide. 

 Minotaure caressant du Mufle la Main d’une Dormeuse (1933-1934) • Pablo PICASSO (1881-1973)

Pablo PICASSO (1881-1973)
Minotaure caressant du Mufle la Main d’une Dormeuse (1933-1934) 

Drypoint on vergé de Montval laid paper
Signed and annotated ‘363’ in pencil lower left; inscribed ‘Boisgeloup 18 juin XXXIII’ in plate lower left
From the Vollard Suite. An exceptional impression from the edition of 260. Picasso expert Brigitte Baer’s second and final state. With Vollard watermark. Aside from an edition of 50 on vergé de Montval paper with wide margins and Montgolfier watermark, an edition of 3 on parchment, and 3 trial proofs on vergé de Montval paper. Printed by Lacourière, Paris.
Bloch 201; Baer 369 II.B.d.
13 1/2 x 17 1/2 in. (34.3 x 44.5 cm)
915396 

ACCESS THE ARTWORK PAGE

 He’s studying her, trying to read her thoughts…trying to decide whether she loves him because he’s a monster…
—Pablo Picasso (Françoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Life with Picasso) 

Minotaure caressant du Mufle la Main d’une Dormeuse (1933-1934) by master artist Pablo Picasso belongs to the famed Vollard Suite and survives as one of Picasso’s earliest renderings of the mythological figure, the Minotaur. The piece, which translates to “Minotaur Caressing a Sleeping Woman,” depicts the Minotaur—half-man, half-bull—crouching over a sleeping young woman. Here, the dualistic nature of the Minotaur is apparent, Picasso masterfully evoking the creature’s intense, yet tender presence. In 1943, Picasso’s long-time friend, muse and lover, Françoise Gilot, received an invitation to view the Vollard Suite etchings in his private studio. She recalls a fascinating remark made by the artist: “He’s studying her, trying to read her thoughts…trying to decide whether she loves him because he’s a monster..” 

The roots of the Minotaur figure can be traced back to ancient Greece, its story associated with the popular myth of the labyrinth. In short, the story is as follows: Pasiphaë—the beautiful daughter of Helios, the Titan god of the sun—was cursed by Poseidon, god of the sea, as revenge for her husband’s wrongdoings. Hopelessly enchanted by Poseidon’s spell, Pasiphaë fell deeply in love with a bull—soon giving birth to their love child, the Minotaur. Though, word of the Minotaur’s unusual form swiftly spread throughout the land—arising suspicion and causing concern. Of no fault of its own, the young Minotaur became largely misunderstood, and was placed in a monumental labyrinth of Daedelus’s creation—condemning the creature to a life of solitude. 

Minotaur Caressing a Sleeping Woman is an especially intimate piece belonging to the Vollard Suite. The female figure, who is largely accepted as Marie-Thérèse Walter (lover and model of Picasso), appears delicate in her slumber. The broad upper body of the Minotaur hovers above her, crouching before her sweet body—contemplating her beauty and grace. Traditionally, the Minotaur is a figure largely defined by its beastly exterior but here, he appears contemplative, vulnerable and in love. Minotaur Caressing a Sleeping Woman flawlessly conveys this creature’s great struggle between its brute appearance and inner (often unacknowledged) compassion. Furthermore, Picasso stylistically conveys this theme surrounding duality through compositional technicalities, striking an expertly juxtaposition between light and darkness. 

Ultimately, the composition speaks to the personal turmoil experienced by Picasso during the time of its conception. Then, his marriage was on the rocks and the artist became plagued by depression. In light of this, Minotaur Caressing a Sleeping Woman is an especially intimate, emotional piece—created during a uniquely arduous period in Picasso’s life and career. Here, Picasso views the Minotaur as a symbol of himself; a representation of his impulses and constant, dualistic fight between how others perceive him and how he perceives himself. Furthermore, Picasso outspokenly identified with the popular portrayal of the Minotaur as both violent and tender, simultaneously seducing women and being tamed by them. Minotaur Caressing a Sleeping Woman explores themes of mythology, identity, creativity and sexuality— eroticizing the relationship between the artist, model and art. Galerie Michael is pleased to present Minotaur Caressing a Sleeping Woman, a piece worthy of a private museum quality collection, to collectors worldwide. 

From the famed Vollard Suite, Minotaure caressant du Mufle la Main d’une Dormeuse (1933-34) by master artist Pablo Picasso is featured in the following museum collections: 

• The Cleveland Museum of Art
• Art Institute Chicago
• Norton Simon Museum
• Philadelphia Museum of ART
• mfa Museum of Fine Arts Boston
• The British Museum
• Hood Museum of Art
• MoMA
• National Gallery of Art