PORTRAIT OF JAIME SABARTES (BOCK)
Portrait De Jaime Sabartes (Le Bock)
“Picasso portrayed me the way he saw me in the café. When I arrived, canvas stood facing the wall. When he put the painting up on the easel, I was astonished to see myself just as he had surprised me in the café. Here is the spectre of my solitude, seen from without. The line which encloses the idea, eloquent in its simplicity, fixes a gesture suggestive of the artist’s compassion upon surprising his friend in solitude. Such is the image returned to me by the clear light of Picasso’s observation, a fugitive hallucination of his own restlessness, tormented by the discovery of his friend peering into the abyss of his loneliness.”
Painted in the beginning of the Blue Period, this piece had been stored in Picasso’s workshop at boulevard de Clichy; it changed hands for a long time and, eventually, was bought by Shchukin; due to being frequently copied, the painting was tagged “Le bock” (“The Beer”). “Not being fond of seeing myself in a mirror, nor in the photo, I love looking at this portrait… It is the first of my oil-on-canvas portraits”.
From the memoirs of Jaime Sabartes