Picasso doodle that he gave to his 19-year-old former muse as a wedding present and was acquired by a Bishop's Stortford businessman emerges for sale online for £55,000
A unique doodle by Pablo Picasso that was acquired by a Bishop's Stortford businessman has emerged for sale for £55,000.
The famous Spanish painter was 73 when he did the drawing in crayon as a wedding present for his 19-year-old former muse and her fiancé 65 years ago.
Sylvette David, who now lives in Devon, captivated the artist because of the high ponytail that she wore. He spent months painting her in the south of France, the ‘Sylvette series’ becoming one of his most diverse and experimental bodies of work to be inspired by one woman.
After Sylvette got engaged to Tobias Jellinek in 1956, the couple went to see Picasso, who drew their picture in a copy of his book L’Oeuvre Gravé de Picasso, adding a date, signature and message.
This page has now been framed and is being offered for sale on online antiques selling platform 2Covet, which allows people all over the world to view and buy items and art.
Frank McKenzie, co-founder and head of art and design at Xupes, an online high-end goods business based at Wickham Hall in Stortford, said: “I acquired it a few years ago and have had it conserved and framed.
“Picasso has written the date and the message ‘Pour mes chers fiancés’ [for my dear fiancés] with a quick sketch of the couple – including the distinctive high ponytail on Sylvette.
“She was his muse and the sketch of her fiancé is perhaps not quite as flattering, but it shows them holding a bunch of flowers.
“Picasso used different coloured crayons and inscribed a number of books, but this includes an original drawing and, despite it only taking seconds, is unique. And, of course, it is of one of his most famous muses.
“There'll be collectors in many parts of the world who would love to own this – and perhaps someone preparing to pop the question themselves would like it to help receive the desired answer."
Sylvette, an artist still at 86 who goes by the name Lydia Corbett, recalls when she and Tobias went to see Picasso.
She said: “He gave it to us as a wedding present. He took out some crayons and did it in front of us. He often did things like that.
“I am so grateful to Picasso, he inspired me all my life and gave me a gift without knowing.
“When I met him I was 19 and looked 15. I never wore make-up and wore simple clothes. I was naive and innocent. His wife was leaving him and I cheered him up. He was like a father figure.
"I know the page was sold some years ago but it’s too expensive for me. My work is a lot cheaper.”
Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain, in October 1881 and spent most of his adult life in France. He was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and co-founded the Cubist movement. He died in France in April 1973, aged 91.
In 2015 his painting Les Femmes d'Alger (Version O) – painted in 1955, the same year he was painting Sylvette – sold for $179.365m.