Pablo Picasso -Garçon à la Pipe (1905)

By: Ranjith Daluwatta

Aug 20 2010

Category: Uncategorized

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Garçon à la Pipe (English: Boy with a Pipe) is a painting by Pablo Picasso. It was painted in 1905 when Picasso was 24 years old, during his Rose Period, soon after he settled in the Montmartre section of Paris, France. The oil on canvas painting depicts a Parisian boy holding a pipe in his left hand and wearing a garland or wreath of flowers.

Preparation

Early preparations of this work involved positioning the boy in all types of poses that involved standing, sitting or leaning against the wall. After much repositioning of the model, Picasso decided to go with the boy sitting down. Next was how to position the arm, where much time was also spent on the height and angle. Early works do not show any objects other than a pipe being used.

Although Picasso started to paint this picture, he gave it a rest period for about a month. During this time, Picasso decided to finish it off by placing a garland of flowers on the boy’s head. It is not known why Picasso decided to do this, but there is a contrast between femininity and masculinity in the picture.

The boy

Le Bateau-Lavoir in Montmartre is where Picasso was living when he painted the picture. Some of the local people made a living in the entertainment industry, such as being clowns or acrobats. Picasso used many local people in his pictures, but little is known about the boy in the picture.

What appears to be fact from comments made from a variety of sources is that the boy was a model in his teen years who hung around Picasso’s studio and volunteered to pose for the oil work.  Picasso’s own comments about the boy were that he was one of the:

local types, actors, ladies, gentlemen, delinquents… He stayed there, sometimes the whole day. He watched me work. He loved that.

From this comment, suppositions can be made. The first is that Picasso did not want people to know who the boy is, and the second is Picasso did not really know the boy. However, many reports have been made that say the boy is “p’tit Louis”,or “Little Louis”.

Created during the Rose Period, Garcon a la Pipe showcases Picasso’s exceptional use of cheerful orange and pink palatte.
The oil on canvas painting, measuring 100 × 81.3 cm (slightly over 39 × 32 inches), displays a Parisian boy holding a pipe in his left hand.

The record price auction at the time on May 4, 2004 in Sotheby’s was a bit of a surprise to the core art buyers, because it was painted in the style not usually associated with the pioneering Cubist artist. The painting was sold for $104,100,000 the second highest price for a painting ever.

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