Description of the artwork «The death of Casagemas»
The young Catalan artist Carlos Casagemas was Pablo Picasso's closest friend in bohemian Barcelona. Not surprisingly, it was he who became Picasso's companion on his first trip to Paris at the turn of the century. If for Picasso that journey was the first tiny step towards a worldwide fame, for Casagemas it was the beginning of the end. In Paris, Carlos fell passionately in love with a young model named Germaine. Obviously, the feeling was not mutual, and Casagemas plunged into a deep depression and often began to talk about suicide.
Picasso and Casagemas spent Christmas holidays in Barcelona, and then went to Malaga to visit Pablo's relatives. Carlos, however, did not stay there for long. He returned to Barcelona, and from there back to Paris. But Germaine continued to reject his feeling. On February 17, 1901, Casagemas invited his beloved and several friends for a dinner in one of the Parisian cafes. After several servings of wine and absinthe, Carlos suggested Germaine to marry him. When the girl refused him again, he took his pistol and shot her. The bullet went by, Casagemas put the muzzle to his right temple and fired again. He died in the hospital that evening.
The Death of Casagemas painting became the starting point of the "blue" period in the work of Pablo Picasso. In many works over the following few years, the artist mourned his friend, although not always so obviously. Picasso returned to Paris in May 1901, rented the same studio he shared with Casagemas, and visited the cafe where Carlos committed suicide. And, in the end (it was quite in the spirit of Picasso), he started an affair with Germain. She remained a part of his life for many years and was one of the models who posed for his Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.
One of the theories claims that Picasso considered Casagemas to be in some sense a soul mate of Vincent van Gogh. of Vincent van Gogh. Just in those years when the young Spaniard came to conquer Paris, the first explosion of Van Gogh's popularity came, and Vincent’s letters to his brother began to be published for the first time. And in the early Parisian works of Picasso, the influence of the Dutch artist is quite clearly visible. In The Death of Casagemas, it was not only a palette that imitated Van Gogh's Self-Portrait in a Gray Felt Hat and Paul Gauguin's Chair. Experts believe that the composition of the Picasso painting repeats a small drawing made Dr. Gachet, which depicts Van Gogh on his deathbed.