Sale: 545 / Evening Sale, Dec. 08. 2023 in Munich Lot 29


Pablo Picasso
Guéridon, guitare et compotier, Wohl 1920.
Gouache and India ink
€ 250,000 - 350,000

$ 262,500 - 367,500

Guéridon, guitare et compotier. Wohl 1920.
Gouache and India ink.
Signed in upper left. On wove paper. 26.9 x 20.7 cm (10.5 x 8.1 in), size of sheet.

• The year 1920 marked the onset of one of the artist's stylistically most versatile and most experimental phases.
• In the summer of 1920, he began a series of gouaches characterized by an inventiveness regarding the possibilities of synthetic Cubism.
• The guitar is of particular importance to the Spanish-born painter: musical instruments become the central motif of the Cubist still lifes.
• Significant provenance: once owned by Hilde Prytek, director of the progressive Nierendorf Gallery in New York, now offered on the auction market for the first time.
• Still lifes from the Cubist phase in major collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Tate Gallery, London
• In 2023, Picasso was honored in exhibitions around the world on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his death

The work was presented to Paloma Ruiz-Picasso, Paris, for authentication in October 2023. The result was not at hand before printing.

PROVENANCE: Hilde Prytek (1908-1961), New York (in the following family-owned).
Private collection North Rhine-Westphalia (gifted from the above in 1990).

"He changed direction, returned on his track, with even firmer steps, constantly growing, gaining strength from the contact with a yet undiscovered nature or through comparison with the coequal masters from the past."

Guillaume Apollinaire

Called up: December 8, 2023 - ca. 17.56 h +/- 20 min.

Olga and Pablo Picasso in Saint Raphaël

Picasso's creative output was always accompanied by autobiographic aspects. We can undoubtedly assume that this still life “Guéridon, guitare et compotier” is related to a visit to Saint Raphaël on the French Mediterranean coast in the south of France, where Picasso spent the late summer of 1919 with the Russian dancer Olga Kokhlova, his first wife, whom he had met in Rome in 1917, where she was a member of Sergei Diaghilev's dance company. They got married in 1918. In memory of these holidays, he created a still life in front of a typical French window, however, it can be assumed that he executed the work in Paris and not on site. A theme that, one would think, was inspired by the closeness to Henri Matisse, who had been living in Nice for three years. We know various views of the Mediterranean Sea that Matisse made from his hotel rooms, which Picasso may have seen at the gallery of Paul Guillaume, who represented both artists and who had organized an exhibition of works by Matisse and Picasso in his gallery at Faubourg St. Honoré in 1918. These works were documents of a retunr to Realism. In his catalog, Apollinaire described the development as follows: “He changes direction, returns on his tracks, now with an even firmer step, becomes ever larger, gains strength from the contact with a yet undiscovered nature or from a comparison with equal masters of the past.” (quoted from: Roland Penrose, Picasso. Leben und Werk, Munich 1961, p. 205) However, there is no proof of a meeting of the two artists on the Mediterranean coast for this year. Where Matisse shows a mostly uniform, almost inhabited view from the respective hotel rooms, Picasso's view, despite all its suasiveness, seems rather cool and shows the influence of Classicism of the 1920s, when he broke away from the extremes of Cubism, using his first trip to Italy in 1917 as part of Sergei Diaghilev's entourage to study artists like Raphael but also the protagonist of French Classicism, namely Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.
In contrast to Matisse's paintings, which covers the entire surface, Picasso's interior consists of two levels: First, the naturalistic view from a balcony door that is framed by a lush curtain out onto a blue sea and a azure, slightly cloudy sky. Second, the late cubist still life with guitar, bowl and music notebook on the table. Placed in front of the balcony railing, it looks like a stage prop from a different era. By looking into the distance, into an infinite sky, Picasso takes up a primarily romantic motif of longing in a strikingly detailed, naturalistic style of painting.

Memories of Saint Raphaël
Remembering this journey and inspired by ingenious interconnections of form and meaning, this gouache also shows Picasso's play between reality and fiction. After another later version of the southern balcony motif that focuses on the actual still life, Picasso developed the picture’s props, the table, the guitar and the fruit bowl in many variations into a collaged composition of 'cut out' negatives of objects on a multi-level background in black and white. The title alone gives us the certainty that we can recognize details that will eventually turn out fiction. The different superimposed image realities here are reminiscent of cubist paintings with “papiers collés” from the years 1913-1914, that is the very synthetic Cubism in which Picasso experimented with patterns and textures and added objects like newsprint and other paper-based items to his colorful paintings. The characterizations of the various interpenetrating objects in the picture are stacked and abreast. In succinct stringency we discover the table’s silhouette (Guéridon) in right, a suggested fruit bowl (Compotier) in center with a guitar (Guitare) reduced to the strings below it. And perhaps one is tempted to discover a figurine in the blue paper cut that presents the traditional instrument of Cubism. The entanglements and interpenetrations of shapes, colors, light and shadow are laid out very niftily as multilayered images within the image, both in the pictorial motif and the inner white and black, as well as the outer light blue fictitious frame. The actual image carrier, that is the ocher paper background, thus gains an independence of a trompe l'oeil-like character. In this gouache, created following his experience in Saint Raphael, Picasso reduced everything that could still be perceived in fine structure and attention to detail in the 'first' Saint Raphael still life to a minimum of compositional fidelity to memory. What looks like an effective variation of the basic still life inventory and picture-in-picture idea, turns out a constant stream of new pictorial inventions with new elements. The dominant idea of this gouache is the selected, reduced play of forms, the harmonious pastel colors of the silent still life objects against a black and white background.


Hilde (Hildegard) Prytek, née Jastrow, born in Poland in 1908, who lived in the New York borough of Queens in 1940 and was married to Frederick E. Prytek, is proven to be the first owner. It is not possible to exactly determine the year in which this gouache “Guéridon, guitare et compotier” became part of her collection. Presumably during her time as an assistant in the Berlin-based gallery of Karl Nierendorf, which became established in New York since 1936. In January 1937, Karl Nierendorf rented premises in New York opposite the “Museum of Modern Art” and opened the “Nierendorf Gallery” in New York City. In the 10-year history of the gallery which popularized European art in the USA, further address changes followed. In May 1946, Karl Nierendorf was one of the first German-Americans to fly to Europe, where he visited Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France and England until September 1947. During his absence, his gallery in New York was run by Hildegard Prytek, who stayed in touch with her boss trough mail and telephone. Nierendorf returned to New York at the end of September 1947 and died of a heart attack on October 25.
Karl Nierendorf's jumbled estate was confiscated by the state of New York in 1948. Since he left no will and due to the fact that the USA and Germany officially were still at war, his German heirs had no access to the estate. In mid-January, the “Guggenheim Foundation” acquired the largest part of the estate for $72,500: in addition to “prints, books, booklets, furniture, fixtures, equipment and other miscellaneous items,” it also included numerous sculptures and 554 pictures from 88 artists, including, according to an inventory list from the Guggenheim Foundation dated January 27, 1948, 113 works by Klee and 14 by Picasso. And what happened to Hilde Prytek? The whole process, which she accompanied, took until around 1953. Additionally, she also attended to the Nierendorf artist Josef Scharl, who had emigrated in 1939, and was well connected with people like the MoMa founder Alfred H. Barr or the Berlin gallerist Ferdinand Möller. She was also the contact person for Hilla von Rebay, who owned works by Wassily Kandinsky that Pyrtek could procure to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. In 1950, she and her husband Frederick E. Prytek sold Otto Dix's “Kriegsmapppe” (War Portfolio) to the Fogg Art Museum in Harvard. In 1952, the Prytek couple gave Henri Matisse’s painting of a street in “Arcueil” from 1899 as a loan into John Rewald's “Fauves” exhibition at the MoMa. Hildegard Prytek died in New York in 1961, followed by her husband Frederick (1913-1962) a year later. Her heirs gave Picasso's gouache to a friend in 1990. It has been privately-owned ever since. [MvL]


Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right compensation for Pablo Picasso "Guéridon, guitare et compotier"
This lot can be purchased subject to differential or regular taxation, artist‘s resale right compensation is due.

Differential taxation:
Hammer price up to 800,000 €: herefrom 32 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 800,000 € is subject to a premium of 27 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 800,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 4,000,000 € is subject to a premium of 22 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 4,000,000 €.
The buyer's premium contains VAT, however, it is not shown.

Regular taxation:
Hammer price up to 800,000 €: herefrom 27 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 800,000 € is subject to a premium of 21% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 800,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 4,000,000 € is subject to a premium of 15% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 4,000,000 €.
The statutory VAT of currently 19 % is levied to the sum of hammer price and premium. As an exception, the reduced VAT of 7 % is added for printed books.

We kindly ask you to notify us before invoicing if you wish to be subject to regular taxation.

Calculation of artist‘s resale right compensation:
For works by living artists, or by artists who died less than 70 years ago, a artist‘s resale right compensation is levied in accordance with Section 26 UrhG:
4 % of hammer price from 400.00 euros up to 50,000 euros,
another 3 % of the hammer price from 50,000.01 to 200,000 euros,
another 1 % for the part of the sales proceeds from 200,000.01 to 350,000 euros,
another 0.5 % for the part of the sale proceeds from 350,000.01 to 500,000 euros and
another 0.25 % of the hammer price over 500,000 euros.
The maximum total of the resale right fee is EUR 12,500.

The artist‘s resale right compensation is VAT-exempt.