The Dream, 1932
Oil on canvas 130 x 97cm
Le Reve is famous for its $139 million price tag. And even more famous
for its recent run-in with a stray elbow courtesy of a Las Vegas Casino
Its history is fascinating. The story goes that in 1931 Picasso saw a
retrospective of Matisse in Paris. Keeping up with Henri he decided he
had to have one.
He set to work on a series of crowd-pleasing, sentimental works that
bordered on soft porn, hiding behind distortion as a means to mask his
true feelings for his subject. Picasso’s erotic muse was Marie-Thérèse.
She was a teenager that Picasso sweet-talked on a street in Paris. Soon
they were lovers. And the 45 year old Picasso was walking on air.
(Eventually she had his child and his attention drifted, and she killed
herself. Did I mention this already?) Anyway, the painting depicts her
sitting in a chair asleep, or gratifying herself, head to one side, one
tit exposed, a smile on her face. And on one side of her face Picasso
painted an upturned penis. His own, right? The retrospective was a hit.