Exhibitions/ Art Object

The Scallop Shell: "Notre Avenir est dans l'Air"

Artist:
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France)
Date:
Paris, spring 1912
Medium:
Enamel and oil on canvas
Dimensions:
Oval, 15 × 21 3/4 in. (38.1 × 55.2 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2017 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
Bold color reentered Braque’s and Picasso’s work in spring 1912, partly in response to the Italian Futurists’ brilliantly hued canvases, which debuted in Paris earlier that year. Picasso used industrial paint to reproduce the cover of a pamphlet, “Our Future Is in the Air,” issued by the Michelin tire company to raise support for the government’s aviation program. The blue, white, and red stripes refer to the French flag. Cubists enjoyed aviation references because they viewed their art as similarly groundbreaking. As an inside joke, Braque and Picasso compared their creative partnership to that of the Wright brothers.
Inscription: Signed (verso, upper left): Picasso
[Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris, May 1912–14; inv. no. 795, photo no. 181; sequestered Kahnweiler stock, December 12, 1914–21; first Kahnweiler sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 13–14, 1921, no. 77, as "Nature morte," sold for Fr 1,500, to Vogelweit]; Monsieur Vogelweit (from 1921); Josef Müller, Paris (in 1932); [E. and A. Silberman Galleries, Inc., New York, until 1962; probably the gallery’s sale, Sotheby & Co., London, November 7, 1962, no. 74, sold to Patch]; Patch (from 1962); Leigh B. and Mary Block, Chicago (by 1967–early 1980; sold in early 1980 to Thaw); [E. V. Thaw & Co., Inc., New York, 1980; sold in October 1980 to Lauder]; Leonard A. Lauder, New York (from 1980)

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Kunsthaus Zürich. "Picasso Retrospective, 1901–1931," September 11–October 30, 1932, extended to November 13, 1932, no. 64.

Kunsthalle Basel. "Juan Gris, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso," February 26–March 24, 1948, no. 93.

New York. Saidenberg Gallery. "Picasso: An American Tribute. Cubism," April 25–May 12, 1962, no. 7.

Washington, D.C. National Gallery of Art. "100 European Paintings & Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Leigh B. Block," May 4–June 11, 1967, no. 37.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "100 European Paintings & Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Leigh B. Block," September 21–November 2, 1967, no. 37.

Boston. Museum of Fine Arts. "One Hundred European Paintings & Drawings from the Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Leigh B. Block," February 2–April 14, 1968, no. 37.

New York. Saidenberg Gallery. "Homage to Picasso for His 90th Birthday: Joint Exhibition of Paintings and Works on Paper. Years: 1901–1924," October 6–30, 1971, no. 15 (as "Still Life [Notre Avenir dans l’Air]").

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective," May 22–September 16, 1980, unnumbered cat. (p. 157).

London. Tate Gallery. "The Essential Cubism, 1907–1920: Braque, Picasso & their friends," April 27–July 10, 1983, extended to July 31, 1983, no. 133 (as "Still-Life with Glass, Scallop Shells, Pipe, Newspaper and Pamphlet ['Notre Avenir est dans l'air']").

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism," September 24, 1989–January 16, 1990, unnumbered cat. (p. 229, as [May] 1912).

Kunstmuseum Basel. "Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism," February 25–June 4, 1990, unnumbered cat. (fig. 235).

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "High and Low: Modern Art, Popular Culture," October 7, 1990–January 15, 1991, unnumbered cat. (fig. 45).

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Pierre Reverdy. Pablo Picasso. Paris, 1924, ill. p. 43, as "Nature morte".

Internationale Kuntstausstellung. Exh. cat., Kunsthaus Zürich. Zurich, 1925, p. 26, no. 357, as "Notre avenir est dans l'air".

""Ausführlicher Katalog mit 32 Tafeln"." Internationale Kunstausstellung. Exh. cat.Zurich, 1925, p. 20, no. 357, as "Notre avenir est dans l'air".

Exposition Picasso. Exh. cat., Galerie Georges Petit. Paris, 1932, p. 31, no. 76, ill. p. 29 (German ed., p. 5, no. 64).

Will Grohmann. "Picasso." Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart: Unter Mitwirkung von etwas 400 Fachgelehrten. Ed. Ulrich Thieme Felix Becker. Vol. 26, Leipzig, 1932, p. 577, as "Les coquilles St.-Jacques".

Christian Zervos. Pablo Picasso. Vol. 2a, Works from 1906 to 1912. Paris, 1942, unpaginated (list of plates), no. 311, pl. 151.

Juan Gris, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso. Exh. cat., Kunsthalle Basel. Basel, 1948, p. 20, no. 93.

Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Les Années héroïques du Cubisme. Paris, 1950, ill. no. 21, as "Les coquilles Saint-Jacques".

Maurice Gieure. Initiation à l'oeuvre de Picasso. Paris, 1951, p. 332, pl. 29.

Frank Elgar and Robert Maillard. Picasso: Étude de l'oeuvre. Paris, 1955, ill. p. 270.

Frank Elgar and Robert Maillard. Picasso: A Study of His Work. New York, 1956, ill. p. 278.

Antonina Vallentin. Pablo Picasso. Paris, 1957, p. 201.

John Richardson, ed. Picasso: An American Tribute. Exh. cat., Saidenberg Gallery. New York, 1962, unpaginated, no. 7, ill.

100 European Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Leigh B. Block. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1967, unpaginated, no. 37, ill.

100 European Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Leigh B. Block. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts. Boston, 1968, unpaginated, no. 37, ill.

Francine du Plessix. "The Flawless Eye: Mary and Leigh Block." The Collector in America. Ed. Jean Lipman. New York, 1970, p. 114, ill. p. 115 (on display in the residence of Leigh B. and Mary Block, Chicago).

John Richardson. Homage to Picasso for His 90th Birthday: Joint Exhibition of Paintings and Works on Paper. Exh. cat., Saidenberg Gallery and Marlborough Gallery. New York, 1971, p. 29, no. 15, ill.

Frank Elgar and Robert Maillard. Picasso: A Study of His Work. Rev. ed. New York, 1972, ill. p. 196.

Franco Russoli and Fiorella Minervino. L'opera completa di Picasso cubista. Milan, 1972, p. 109, no. 464, ill. p. 110, as "Natura morte con ostriche Saint-Jacques (La coquille Saint-Jacques)".

Roland Penrose and John Golding, ed. Picasso in Retrospect. New York, 1973, p. 275, ill. no. 80, as "Still Life (‘Notre Avenir dans l’Air’)".

Robert Rosenblum. "Picasso and the Typography of Cubism." Picasso in Retrospect. Ed. Roland Penrose and John Golding. New York, 1973, pp. 55, 267 n. 26, ill. no. 80, as "Still Life ('Notre Avenir dans l'Air')".

Françoise Cachin and Fiorella Minervino. Tout l'oeuvre peint de Picasso, 1907–1916. Paris, 1977, p. 110, no. 464, ill.

Pierre Daix and Joan Rosselet. Picasso, The Cubist Years, 1907–1916: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings and Related Works. Boston, 1979, pp. 94, 278, no. 464, ill.

Linda Nochlin. "Picasso's Color: Schemes and Gambits." Art in America 68, no. 10 (December 1980), pp. 108–12, 114–17, fig. 2.

William Rubin, ed. Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1980, pp. 151, 156, ill. p. 157.

Malcolm Gee. Dealers, Critics, and Collectors of Modern Painting: Aspects of the Parisian Art Market Between 1910 and 1930. PhD diss., Courtauld Institute of Art. New York, 1981, appendix F, p. 41, no. 96, as "Nature morte".

Douglas Cooper in Isabelle Monod-Fontaine with E. A. Carmean, Jr. Braque: The Papiers Collés. Exh. cat., Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Washington, D.C., 1982, p. 19 (French ed., p. 9).

Pierre Daix in Isabelle Monod-Fontaine with E. A. Carmean, Jr. Braque: The Papiers Collés. Exh. cat., Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Washington, D.C., 1982, pp. 31–32, fig. 15 (French ed., p. 17, ill.).

Douglas Cooper and Gary Tinterow. The Essential Cubism: Braque, Picasso & their friends, 1907–1920. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1983, p. 276, no. 133, ill. p. 277.

Isabelle Monod-Fontaine et al. Donation Louise et Michel Leiris: Collection Kahnweiler-Leiris. Exh. cat., Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou. Paris, 1984, pp. 166–68 (cited in a letter from Picasso to Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, June 5, 1912, as no. 11), ill.

Josep Palau i Fabre. Picasso. New York, 1985, unpaginated (list of illustrations), fig. 102.

Rosalind E. Krauss. The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths. Cambridge, Mass., 1985, pp. 30–31, ill.

William Rubin, ed. Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1989, ill. p. 229 (German ed., 1990, fig. 235; French ed., 1990, and Spanish ed., 1991, ill. p. 223).

Josep Palau i Fabre. Picasso: Cubism, 1907–1917. New York, 1990, p. 507, no. 680, ill. p. 247.

Kirk Varnedoe. A Fine Disregard: What Makes Modern Art Modern. New York, 1990, pp. 270, 305, fig. 282.

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Pepe Karmel. "Appendix 2: Notes on the Dating of Works." Picasso and Braque: A Symposium. Ed. Lynn Zelevansky. New York, 1992, p. 332.

Christine Poggi. In Defiance of Painting: Cubism, Futurism, and the Invention of Collage. New Haven, 1992, p. 15, fig. 16, as "Still Life: 'Notre Avenir est dans l’Air'".

Jean Sutherland Boggs. Picasso & Things: The Still-Lifes of Picasso. Exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, 1992, pp. 100, 347, fig. 28a.

Edward F. Fry. "Convergence of Traditions: The Cubism of Picasso and Braque." Picasso and Braque: A Symposium. Ed. Lynn Zelevansky. New York, 1992, p. 98.

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Christine Poggi et al. "Braque's Early 'Papiers Collés: The Certainties of Faux Bois. Discussion." Picasso and Braque: A Symposium. Ed. Lynn Zelevansky. New York, 1992, p. 159, fig. 2.

Yve-Alain Bois. "The Semiology of Cubism." Picasso and Braque: A Symposium. Ed. Lynn Zelevansky. New York, 1992, p. 185, fig. 15.

Pepe Karmel. "Addenda: List of Paintings in Picasso's and Braque's Correspondence with Kahnweiler." Picasso and Braque: A Symposium. Ed. Lynn Zelevansky. New York, 1992, pp. 341–42, p. 343 n. 11 (cited in a letter from Picasso to Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, June 5, 1912, as no. 11).

Christian Geelhaar. Picasso: Wegbereiter und Förderer seines Aufstiegs, 1899–1939. Zürich, 1993, pp. 30, 283 n. 83, fig. 121, as 1911.

Francis Frascina. "Realism and Ideology: An Introduction to Semiotics and Cubism." Primitivism, Cubism, Abstraction: The Early Twentieth Century. Ed. Charles Harrison, Francis Frascina, and Gill Perry. New Haven, 1993, pp. 156, 168, pl. 133.

John Richardson with the collaboration of Marilyn McCully. A Life of Picasso. Vol. 2, 1907–1917. New York, 1996, pp. 226, 228, ill. p. 227.

Brigitte Leal, Christine Piot, and Marie-Laure Bernadac. The Ultimate Picasso. New York, 2000, pp. 158, 509, fig. 353.

Elizabeth Cowling. Picasso: Style and Meaning. London, 2002, pp. 231, 233, ill. no. 201.

Anne Collins Goodyear in In Defying Gravity: Contemporary Art and Flight. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. Raleigh, 2003, pp. 3, 33, fig. 2.

Robert Wohl in In Defying Gravity: Contemporary Art and Flight. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. Raleigh, 2003, p. 21.

Emily Braun in Boccioni's Materia: A Futurist Masterpiece and the Avant-Garde in Milan and Paris. Ed. Laura Mattioli Rossi. Exh. cat., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. New York, 2004, p. 15, as May 1912.

Bettina H. Chavanne. "The Art of Flying." Falconer: Dassault Falcon Family Magazine no. 25 (2004), ill. p. 14.

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Lesley Harding and Sue Cramer. Cubism and Australian Art. Exh. cat., Heide Museum of Modern Art. Melbourne and Carlton, Victoria, 2009, ill. p. 255.

Tobia Bezzola. Picasso by Picasso: His First Museum Exhibition, 1932. Exh. cat., Kunsthaus Zürich. Munich, 2010, pp. 199, 220, Zürich no. 64, p. 261, no. 24, ill. pp. 71, 98, Reber no. 11 (installed in the “Exposition Picasso,” Galeries Georges Petit, Paris, 1932), 220.

Christine Poggi in Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910–1912. Exh. cat., Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth. Santa Barbara, 2011, p. 101, fig. 13, as "Still Life: Notre avenir est dans l’air".

Cornelius Tittel. "Der wahre Beginn der Moderne." Die Welt (June 7, 2013), p. 28.

Armand Israël. Georges Braque: Père du Cubisme, initiateur de l'art contemporain. Paris, 2013, pp. 188–89, ill., as "Notre avenir est dans l’air (La Coquille Saint-Jacques)," May 1912.

"Objects Promised to the Museum during the Year 2012–2013." The Metropolitan Museum of Art, One Hundred Forty-third Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013 (2013), p. 47.

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Kenneth E. Silver in Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection. Ed. Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2014, pp. 180–85, no. 66, ill. p. 288 (color).

Anna Jozefacka and Luise Mahler in Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection. Ed. Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2014, pp. 288–90, figs. 66A (on display in the residence of Leigh B. and Mary Block, Chicago, ca. 1970), 66B (installation photo, Exh. Paris 1932).

Emily Braun and Leonard A. Lauder in Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection. Ed. Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2014, pp. 8–9, fig. 7 (on display in the residence of Leonard A. Lauder, New York, 1987).

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"The Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection: A Conversation with Emily Braun and Pepe Karmel." IFAR Journal 16, no. 3 (2015), pp. 1, 36, 39-40, 42, figs. 2 (color, on display in the living room of the Lauder residence, New York, 2014), 5 (color image of the verso), 12 (color), ill. on cover (color).

John Finlay. "'Notre Avenir est dans l'Air': Picasso and the Invention of Cubist Sculpture, 1912-1914." Colloque Revoir Picasso. March 25, 2015, pp. 1, 3, 4 nn. 4, 19, and 332, no. 1912-036, ill. p. 197, as "The Scallop Shell (Our future is up in the Air II)".