[Picasso, Pablo. (1881–1973)] Brassaï [Gyula Halasz]. (1899–1984) "Picasso Assis sur un banc à Mougins" (1966)
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Original portrait photograph of Picasso by the Hungarian-French photographer, sculptor, writer and filmmaker who rose to fame in 20th-century France and who had a close association with the great painter. Picasso is shown seated outdoors on a bench, between two striking oversized dog statues. The photograph is signed by Brassaï at the lower right. Silver gelatin print. 44 x 37 cm.
One of the most renowned photographers of the interwar period, Brassaï's reputation rests on contributions to both commercial and avant-garde photography. His long-time friend, the author Henry Miller, nicknamed him "The Eye of Paris" for his devotion to the city, and he was close to many of its artists. His enduring relationship with Picasso in particular yielded many famous portraits of the artist, as well as the book Conversations with Picasso.
Brassaï was introduced to Picasso in December 1932 when he was commissioned to photograph the artist’s studios in Paris and at Boisgeloup for the new Surrealist periodical Minotaure. His success with this assignment is evidenced not only by the article published in Minotaure’s inaugural issue in June 1933, but by the fact that this was only the beginning of their friendship and professional relationship. Picasso would allow only Brassaï to photograph his work in preparation for the book Les Sculptures de Picasso (1949), having astutely noted the perils of an inexpertly handled camera. As Picasso told Brassaï in 1943, “[…] But here’s the reason I wanted to see you: a publisher has offered to publish an album of my sculptures. And he wanted to force a photographer on me. I would have nothing to do with that. I insisted it be you. And I’d be happy if you could accept this work. I like your photos of my sculptures. The ones taken of my new works [by another photographer] are not so great… Look at them. My Death’s Head has turned into a walnut.” (Conversations with Picasso, University of Chicago Press, 1999, p. 58–59)