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Le main droite de Picasso

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Saint-Germain (Photograph taken at Picasso's studio on Rue des Grands Augustins in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, photographed)

  • Date:

    1943 (photographed)
    1937 (made)
    early 1960s (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Brassaï Guyula Hálasz, born 1899 - died 1984 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatin silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Bequest of Gilberte Boyer Brassaï

  • Museum number:

    E.874-2014

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 913, box P

Brassaï met Picasso in 1932, when the Surrealist publication ‘Le Minotaure’ produced a ‘Picasso issue’ and commissioned Brassaï to photograph the artist and his work. Brassaï had caught the eye of the Surrealists but was relatively unknown in wider circles; it was a year prior to the publication of his first book, ‘Paris by Night’, which would establish his reputation as a serious photographer. Brassaï enjoyed an intimate relationship with Picasso over the next forty years, continuing to photograph him and his sculpture. Picasso appreciated Brassaï’s photographs and used them to assess his own work from a different perspective, whereas Brassaï valued the access and inspiration provided by Picasso. Brassaï meticulously recorded their meetings, only revealing his detailed documentation after thirty years. A compilation of transcriptions from these notes, ‘Conversations with Picasso’, was published in 1960 at Picasso’s own suggestion.

This photograph shows a cast made by Picasso in 1937 of his right hand. Brassaï had already seen a plaster cast version of it in Picasso’s studio in the 1930s but was not able to photograph it until 1943, by which time it had been cast in bronze.

Physical description

Black and white photograph depicting a plaster mould of a hand, facing palm up

Place of Origin

Saint-Germain (Photograph taken at Picasso's studio on Rue des Grands Augustins in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, photographed)

Date

1943 (photographed)
1937 (made)
early 1960s (printed)

Artist/maker

Brassaï Guyula Hálasz, born 1899 - died 1984 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin silver print

Marks and inscriptions

Recto:
Bottom right, pen: artist's signature: 'Brassaï'

Verso:
Top left, stamped in purple ink: 'SUCCESSION / BRASSAÏ / ESTATE'
Top left, pencil: '23 x 29,5'
Top right, pencil: '- Page 177'; ' 'Les Artistes' '; '- convers. à Pic 36' [reference to the image on page 36 of the book 'Conversations with Picasso']
Top right, pencil: 'Pic.SC.106'; 'pl.c.24 [encircled]'; 'couverture KAHN'

Dimensions

Width: 19.3 cm image, Height: 27.6 cm image, Width: 23.9 cm paper, Height: 30.3 cm paper

Object history note

This object came to the museum as part of a bequest of 99 photographs by Brassaï from his widow, Madame Gilberte Boyer.

Descriptive line

Photograph by Brassaï, 'Le main droite de Picasso' [the right hand of Picasso], Rue des Grands Augustins, Paris 1943, depicted mould from 1937. Gelatin silver print, printed early 1960s.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Anne Wilkes Tucker, Brassaï: The Eye of Paris, Houston, TX: The Museum of Fine Arts (1999), plate 77
Brassaï, 1899-1984 (sale catalogue), Paris, France: Drouot-Montaigne, 2006, p36
Brassaï, Conversations avec Picasso, Paris: Gallimard (1964), p166
Picasso vu par Brassaï, Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux (1987), p142

Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Gelatin silver process; Photography

Subjects depicted

Moulding; Hand

Categories

Photographs

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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