Central Level

At the centre of the part containing the tracings there is the sentence « A Fernandez Ilame Duran-Rouel y le dara muchos calés 03 » and the signature « Picasso 03 ». This sentence could be translated as follows:
« A Fernandez you will make contact with Durand - Rouel he will give you a lot of dough. »

A comic strip comprising 9 drawings linked around this sentence, that can be situated in 1903, a dating confirmed by the analysis of the drawings and bibliographical research. This comic strip illustrates Picasso’s thoughts. The sentence is in the future tense and resumes more or less the one he used on the comic strip of 1902, when he delivered a painting to Junger Vidal with the aim that he would sell it to Durand - Ruel. In 1902, this sentence is in the present tense and proves that Durand - Ruel already bought Picasso’s paintings maybe using his friends as middlemen. In 1903, the sentence concerns directly Angel Fernandez de Soto who could, if he wanted to, bargain with Durand - Ruel for the painting Woman in Blue with a Beret which Picasso had given him. We can observe that Picasso spells wrongly the name of Durand - Ruel because he does not master the French language well and thus spells phonetically. On the other hand, it is historically established that Angel Fernandez de Soto helped his friend Picasso by putting him up in 1900 and from the end of January 1903 to April 1904 in a workroom that he owned on Calle Riera de San Juan in Barcelona. So it was logical that Picasso handed him a painting in compensation for the rents and loans that he owed him. Angel Fernandez de Soto belonged to a rich Spanish family and he and his brother Mateu frequented the cabaret « Quatre Gats » where they often stumbled upon another regular customer, Picasso.

Picasso’s signature contemporary to 1903 does indeed have the same graphics as in the other signatures in this period. The dating « 03 » can be found in numerous other works, the « 3 » in the shape of an epsilon being very particular.

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