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Picasso’s rare collection of early print works hitting London’s auction block

Picasso's rare prints to hit London auction
Pablo Picasso’s ‘Repas Frugal’ from his early series ‘La Suite des Saltimbanques’ (1904-1905). Image: Bonhams via AFP Relaxnews

The series, known as “La Suite des Saltimbanques”, will be auctioned during Bonhams’ upcoming “Prints & Multiples” sale.

“La Suite des Saltimbanques” comprises 15 etchings and drypoints created by Picasso during the beginning of his career.

They refer to themes that inspired his work during his famous Rose and Blue periods, such as Bohemianism, poverty and the theatrical world.

Several etchings in the series feature acrobats, clowns and harlequins shown behind the scenes, as though caught in private moments.

“La Suite des Saltimbanques”, offered as a complete set on June 13, is expected to fetch between £170,000 and £250,000 (around €190,000-280,000).

This estimate is far from the record price of Picasso’s etching “La Minotauromachie”, which sold for £1.273 million ($1.98 million) at Sotheby’s in 2010.

The standout piece from the collection is “Le Repas Frugal”, which represents a famished-looking couple sitting in front of a nearly empty table.

Due to his poverty at the time, Picasso re-used a copper plate that had been previously engraved by his artist friend Joan Gonzales to create this etching.

“La Suite des Saltimbanques” will be offered at Bonhams’ headquarters in London on June 13, as part of its upcoming “Prints & Multiples” auction.

Other highlights of the sale include Roy Lichtenstein’s “Nude Reading”, estimated between £60,000-80,000; Andy Warhol’s “Shoes”, estimated between £50,000-70,000; and Gerhard Richter’s “Kerze II (Candle II)”, estimated between £30,000-50,000. CC


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