Pablo Picasso

Portrait of Soler

Portrait of Soler
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Pablo Picasso
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on canvas, 100x70 cm
Origin: France, 1903

In 1903 the 22-year-old Picasso made a number of portraits of his friends in Barcelona. Amongst them is this portrait of Soler, a fashionable Barcelona tailor who patronised young artists in particular financial straits. The two men were friends for a number of years, and the artist produced several portraits of the tailor.

In the Hermitage portrait Picasso conveys both the artistic nature and natural elegance of Soler's appearance, and the memorable thin face, the tips of the moustache twisted upwards in the manner of a dandy. But the artist did not seek to create a representation of the sitter or his character. He sunk Soler into an intensely melancholy world of dark blue and green, untouched by any hint of sunlight, making the sitter a bearer of that "tragic sense of life" which was so much a part of his own perception of the world. In this portrait, as in the earlier "Absinthe Drinker" , he is looking at the theme of man's loneliness in a cafe, of loneliness in a crowd. Hence the keen sense of melancholy and the sad expression of distance on the nervous face, its transparent pallor reinforced by the dark background and clothing.

Source of entry: acquired in 1930

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