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“Well, after all, Picasso had his blue period too.”
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BENTLEY, Nicolas.

“Well, after all, Picasso had his blue period too.”

Published: 1959

Stock code: 67093

Price: £350

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

Two pedestrians read billboards, one noting “John Osborne ‘saddened’ by Paul Slickey notices”, the other “Picasso Painting sold for £55,000”. John Osborne’s The World of Paul Slickey, a musical satire of the tabloid press, premiered on 5 May 1959 and proved one of the most resounding flops in modern theatrical history. Booing broke out in the stalls half-way through the show (Noel Coward and John Gielgud were among the booers) and afterwards Osborne was chased up the Charing Cross Road by irate theatre-goers. By contrast, the Picasso painting of a Dutch girl sold the day before in London had achieved the highest price paid for a painting by a living artist. The cartoons and illustrations of Nicolas Bentley (1907-1978) were part of the warp and weft of English popular culture in the 1950s and 60s. Never savage, though often waspishly accurate and exuding an urbane air of amusement at the foibles of his fellows, Bentley’s work was familiar to the public from a wide variety of publications. Between 1952 and 1954 he drew regular cartoons for the weekly Time and Tide, and after that for the daily News Chronicle. Between 1958 and 1962 he drew topical cartoons for the Daily Mail under the title “Watch My Line.” He also drew many portraits, in black and white line, of famous people, for various papers, including over sixty for the Sunday Telegraph, which began publication in February 1961.

Sheet size: 191 140 mm. Pen and ink and blue crayon on wove paper. Small overslip correcting wording on the Picasso billboard. Stamped on verso for publication in the Daily Mail, 7 May 1959.

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