A pencil drawing of a nude with head resting on her knee, 7 1/2" by 7" (17 1/4" by 16 1/2" as framed), by the important Bulgarian-born Jewish artist, JULES PASCIN (1885-1930). This drawing has an illustrious provenance, and the artist himself led a fascinating, yet tragic life, making this seemingly simple slip of paper a most interesting ambassador of art history. On the reverse side we see labels of prestigious galleries such as Kennedy Galleries, New York; Dorothy Blau Gallery, South Florida; Hokin Gallery, Palm Beach; and Pickens-Kane, Chicago. In openings on the backing we see the stamp of Kennedy Galleries stating that this work was from the collection of important American artist Walt Kuhn (1877-1949), as well as another sketch of a head. Pascin's biography makes for fascinating reading, and a full accounting of it is beyond the scope of this summary; a careful reading of a 1958 biography by Alfred Werner, available online, is recommended. Pascin was born as Jules Mordechai Pincas, into a large family in Vidin, Bulgaria. The major cities of Europe beckoned the young man seeking art education, and he quickly became familiar with Vienna, Munich, Berlin and Paris. By 1905 he was already exhibiting, and by 1913 his skill enabled him to show several works in the Armory Show in New York, where Greenwich Village became part of his world (one wonders if it was there that Walt Kuhn obtained this drawing from the artist). In America, Pascin was also friendly with Alfred Stieglitz, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Guy Pene du Bois). The artist remained in the United States from 1914 through 1920 to avoid Bulgarian military service, becoming a United States citizen and traveling the South, remaining for a time in Savannah, Georgia. When he married artist Hermine David, artists Max Weber and Maurice Sterne were witnesses. In 1920 Pascin returned to Paris, and the next decade, the final years of his dramatically shortened life, were frenetic and turbulent. He was a major figure in the hyper-social, highly intellectual, intense bohemian community of the famous Montparnasse art colony. Pascin was a friend of the likes of Marc Chagall, Amedeo Modigliani, George Grosz---and countless other giants of the Paris art world. Ernest Hemingway was a friend, and a chapter of his 1923 "A Moveable Feast" is titled "With Pascin at the Dome". Pascin was a tortured, restless soul, apparently lonely despite being surrounded by people in the social swirl of 1920's Montparnasse. He struggled with alcohol and drugs, and the debauchery and unsustainable pace eventually caught up with him. Tragically, in 1930 he slit his wrists and hanged himself, the suicide creating quite a stir in Paris, which mourned the passing of the talented draftsman and painter. Pascin's legacy peaked in the late 1980's and early 1990's, when the Ecole de Paris artists were achieving record prices at auction. In 1990 an oil brought $520,000; in 1989, a drawing brought $115,000. Prices have declined since that time but the skill of the artist, which left his contemporaries in awe, remains unchanged. Many of Pascin's works are sexually charged, erotic, but it is said that his interest in that direction lessened towards the end of his life. Prostitutes and bored models were favorite subjects. The present drawing is in excellent condition. There is a black spot that appears to be ink, at left----likely there a long time. Overall, a most impressive work of art. I photographed the art with the scratched Plexiglas removed. It has been put back in place in order to protect the art, but you need to replace it with glass or another sheet of Plexi.
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