Look: This book by Picasso is on sale for Dh2 million at Sharjah International Book Fair

  • Khaleej Times
  • 4. November 2021
  • SM Ayaz Zakir

The artist's paintings, which capture his love for animals, are the highlight of the antique book

One of the more expensive items on sale at the 40th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) this year is a book by Pablo Picasso that costs a whopping Dh2 million.

But the hefty price tag may be justifiable - the book titled Buffon features some of Picasso's original paintings.

Hugo Wetscherek, owner of Antiquariat Inlibris in Vienna, Austria, said: "This book is unique ... Another distinctive feature of this book is it was gifted by Picasso to painter André Marchand with paintings and an autograph inscription."

But Picasso's paintings, which capture his love for animals, are the highlight of the antique book.

"These original paintings are just after the cover page and the end page of the book. The two drawings are executed in Indian ink, pen and brush, heightened with black ink wash," Wetscherek said.

The paintings date back to 1944 - a time period reflected in the artwork.

"The first drawing shoes a tomato plant in a pot, probably a reference to the still life for which Marchand was known. The second presents two different figures of a horse - in the upper half of the sheet, a white horse, and in the lower half, a powerful horse's head against a stark dark background," he said.

There are only a few 100 copies of the book, which was published by a French publisher in 1942.

"The book was printed in a relatively small number of 226. Several copies went to friends with unique drawings such as these," Wetscherek said, adding that the images of the animal kingdom have been rendered with "exquisite technique."

"(It) must have surely brought joy to those who viewed it during the dark days of the war," he said.

Buffon can be found in auctions or on sale for 50,000 euros, but only a single copy is available of the book with the painter's stroke.