(Saint-Denis, La Réunion, 1865 – Versailles, 1939)
A friend of Alfred Jarry's, Ambroise Vollard was an art dealer whose influence on the evolution of contemporary art history is essential. He opened his own art gallery in Paris in 1893, organised an important show of works by Cézanne (1895) and purchased works by Van Gogh and Gauguin (1900). He also orchestrated the first Picasso exhibition to be held in Paris (1901) and the first exhaustive display of works by Matisse (1904). The dealer’s domed, balding head, bulbous nose, thin lips, neatly trimmed beard and the set of his features are admirably characterised and easily deciphered. Vollard was notorious for his tendency to drop off to sleep in company and Picasso’s 1910 portrait shows him behaving true to form: his eyes are closed and his head droops.
Pencil on paper
46,7 x 32,1 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.The Elisha Whittelsey Collection. The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1947 . 47.140