Picasso painted Cruche, Pot et Citron during the summer of 1907, shortly after completing the momentous Les Demoiselles D’Avignon. Works from this period reflect Picasso’s transition from the “Rose Period” to his iconic Cubist style, which is visible in this painting through the abstraction of the background into strong slash lines, and the flattened three-dimensional forms.
This work on paper is one of at least fourteen pieces from Picasso’s Carnet 10, a sketchbook from June-July 1907 that originally belonged to Gertrude Stein. An American expatriate and author, Stein became lifelong friends with Picasso after meeting him in Paris and purchasing several of his paintings with her brother. Just months before Picasso completed Cruche, Pot et Citron, Picasso had just completed the portrait of Gertrude Stein which now resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 1938, the photographer Cecil Beaton visited Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas at their apartment in Paris to document the couple’s art collection and their life together. One photograph depicts Stein seated at a desk in the salon in front of a wall of works by Picasso, in which Cruche, Pot, et Citron can be seen hanging alongside a selection of other Picasso works on paper.
After the deaths of both Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas, art works from the estate were purchased by a group of investors headed by David Rockefeller. This work entered Rockefeller’s personal collection before it was sold to another major collector, Eugene Victor Thaw.