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.