Pablo Picasso

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Pablo Picasso
Two Dancers
April 1925
Pen and black ink on tan wove paper.
13 7/8 x 9 7/8 inches (35.2 x 25.1 cm)
Gift of Richard and Mary L. Gray.

Picasso created this drawing while observing rehearsals of the Ballets Russes in Monte Carlo; dancers were among his favorite subjects. Picasso's association with the itinerant ballet company began in 1917, when he designed sets and costumes for the avant-garde production Parade. Represented in abbreviated yet remarkably descriptive lines, the languorous dark-haired dancer at the barre has been identified as Serge Lifar, while the seated blond man is probably a Ukrainian dancer known as Khoer. Picasso concealed an earlier version of Lifar's right leg with extensive crosshatching between the two figures. Lifar recalled in his memoirs, "In 1925, while spending the Easter holiday in the French Midi, Picasso sketched me in the ballet Zéphire et Flore and offered me some of the twenty-five drawings he made." Zéphire et Flore, with scenery and costumes designed by Georges Braque, premiered on April 28, 1925.


Signed and dated recto, lower right, in black ink: "Picasso / 25"

Richard Green Gallery, London, 1998 [XIX and XX Century European Paintings, cat. no. 29]; sold, Sotheby's, New York, May 17, 1990, lot 165A; Richard and Mary L. Gray.
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