Signed, dated and dedicated 'Pour Carl Nesjar Picasso 18.11.69.' (upper left) felt-tip pen on paper
14.25 x 10.87 in (36.20 x 27.61 cm)
Price on Request
Executed on 18 November 1969
This wonderful drawing by Picasso dedicated to Nesjar for sale as they bear witness to a unique
collaboration and friendship, that of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso and Norwegian sculptor, painter and
printmaker Carl Nesjar (1920-2015), described by Margalit Fox in her tribute to the latter as "the artist
who took the master’s drawings and scale models and gave them physical form as immense
Named at birth Carl Carlsen, Nesjar is best known for his luminous sculptures made of ice, referred to
as "Ice Fountains", but most importantly Picasso’s partner in crime to magnify the Spaniard’s models and
designs into monumental concrete and stone sculptures. Picasso was impressed by Nesjar’s concrete art
works and teamed up with the Norwegian artist in the late 1950s. From then on, they worked together
on large-scale projects until Picasso’s death in 1973, producing more than thirty sculptures that can be
seen around the world from Norway to France, from Spain to Israel, from the campuses of Princeton
University and of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to Manhattan in New York.
Probably one of the most iconic products of their collaboration are the five murals executed for the
Regjeringskvartalet ("Government quarter") in central Oslo, Norway between 1959 and 1970, the
subjects of which are The Beach, The Seagull, Satyr and Faun and two versions of The Fisherman. These
murals made the headlines in 2011 following the extreme-right terrorist attack, resulting in the artworks’
being badly damaged, which have today been classified as one of Europe’s most endangered cultural
sites by the heritage organisation Europa Nostra.
Other examples of the Picasso-Nesjar teamwork include Picasso’s tallest sculpture in the world, a 15
meter-high Jacqueline, that overlooks a lake in Kristinehamn, Sweden, and that has become the area’s
most popular tourist attraction since it was inaugurated in June 1965. A 7.5 meter-high and 4.5 meterwide Sylvette proudly stands on a square in Rotterdam in the Netherlands and demonstrates Nesjar’s
creative approach to concrete casting, that he mixed with black basalt pebbles. By sandblasting the
concrete and hence revealing these black pebbles – a technique known as "concrete
sgraffito" or "Betograve" – Nesjar achieved the rendering of Picasso’s black lines that were in the
Spaniard’s initial painted metal sheet model representing the 19-year-old Sylvette David. Picasso’s trust
in the Norwegian artist gave him the flexibility to do some slight changes - if required - to adapt these
vast Picassos to their sites, to which Nesjar commented in a jokingly way in an interview with The Times
in 1968: "I must be the only person in the world who has corrected a Picasso drawing
Carl Nesjar, Oslo (gift of the artist, November 18, 1969).
From Carl to the current owner.