As a young artist, Picasso availed himself of every opportunity for commercial work. During his early stays in Paris, he lived and worked in Montmartre, the locus of nocturnal pleasures both innocent and guilty. The streets were plastered with posters for the big dance halls-Le Moulin Rouge, Le Moulin de la Galette-as well as smaller cafés.
Picasso executed this design for Le Jardin de Paris, a Parisian dance hall, as a speculative bid. Located near the Champs Elysées, Le Jardin de Paris was the summer outpost of Le Moulin Rouge and was likewise managed by the Catalan Josep Oller (1839-1922). Borrowing from the imagery of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso also adopted Lautrec's signature tonal shading, here achieved by flicking a brush. Given that Lautrec was gravely ill and had stopped working, Picasso may have hoped to position himself as his successor. However, Oller did not buy the design, and a short time later, Picasso reused the back of this work to sketch preliminary compositions for the "The Mourners" (private collection) and "The Burial of Casagemas" (Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris), dedicated to his late friend Carles Casagemas, in whose apartment he was living and whose mistress, Germaine (Laure Gargallo), was now his own.
Inscription: Signed in ink, lower right: -Picasso-; inscribed, at top: - JARDIN / PARIS -
Georges Lévy (probably Léon Georges Levy), Paris (until 1934; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, December 20, 1934, no. H; sold for Fr 1,900); [Galerie Käte Perls, Paris, in 1937]; [Perls Galleries (Klaus and Frank Perls), New York, 1937–39; sold on January 9, 1939, for $600, to Chrysler]; Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., New York and Warrenton, Va. (1939–50; his sale, Parke Bernet Galleries, New York, February 16, 1950, no. 28, sold for $950); private collection (1950–61; sale, Parke Bernet Galleries, New York, April 26, 1961, no. 19); Colonel C. Michael Paul (by 1966–d. 1980); his sister, Dr. Raymonde Paul, New York (1980–82; her gift to MMA)
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