Manuel Martinez Hugué dit Manolo

Head of a Bearded Man (Aristide Maillol ?) 1925

Terra-cotta proof, n°0/15
Label (on the inside): GALERIE SIMON / 29 bis, Rue d’Astorg / PARIS (VIIIe) / 1925 / 0 / N° 8773 / Manolo / tête d’Homme Barbu / 15 épreuves 35h. / Photo N°4543
H. 31.5, W. 21, D. 22.5 cm


  • Paris, Galerie Simon
  • France, private collection


  • Pla, Josep, Vida de Manolo contada per ell mateix, Sabadell, 1928.
  • Pia, Pascal, Manolo, "Sculpteurs nouveaux" ("New Sculptors"), Paris, Gallimard, 1930.
  • Benet, Rafael, El Escultor Manolo Hugué, coll. Miguel Angel, Libreria Editorial Argos, Barcelona, 1942.
  • Blanch, Montserrat, Manolo, Sculptures, Peintures, Dessins, Editions Cercle d’Art, Paris, 1974, n°469, p. 244, repr.
  • Blanch, Montserrat, Manolo Hugué, Gent Nostra, 1992.
  • Manolo Hugué, 1872-1945, Mont-de-Marsan, Despiau-Wlérick Museum, June 28—September 4, 1995, Pontoise, musée Tavet-Delacour, September 16—November 26, 1995.
Montserrat Blanch, in her catalogue raisonné, indicates that this bearded man may be Aristide Maillol. "Manolo knew Maillol well; he was a French Catalan and his neighbor in the Roussillon. They were also of the same generation, and this no doubt, at least in part, explains the links that exist between their works," D-H Kahnweiler wrote.[1] Manolo did this portrait in 1925, during his second period living in Céret, which began in 1919 and ended in 1927. During this time, Manolo and Maillol, who already knew each other well, spent further time together. Maillol, 64 years old, was a celebrity, while Manolo, 53, was just beginning to enjoy international recognition. They developed a relationship based on their work that was both convivial and professional; for instance, Manolo once used one of Maillol's previous employees Biosca as a studio assistant after suffering from some health issues in 1927.
In its treatment, the Head of a Bearded Man is related to Portrait of Calvet,[2] done in 1920, "in which the head alone is featured, constructed with an unparalleled rigor, but also with great freedom. In this study, the right half of the face expresses great serenity while the left half reveals a degree of melancholy, thus creating a double expression fused into a single one, which manages to grasp the moral resemblance so dear to Baudelaire (…)."[3] In these two works, Manolo accentuates the senses of seriousness and of serenity of his two models; his strategy was to align his works with Medieval illuminations: the volumes are rigorously architectural, and the compositions are constructed around frontal views and synthetic treatment; they attain their apex in the strong mass of the dense beard, cut bluntly horizonatally. In 1923, the portrait Josep Maragall,[4] treated in the manner of a mask, had the same expression of serene force as the bust presented here.
This proof bears a label from the Galerie Simon, which was the second gallery that D-H Kahnweiler ran. During the First World War, all of Kahnweiler's goods were sequestered, so after the war, he went into partnership with André Simon, and they opened a new gallery at 29 bis rue d'Astorg. In the course of three auctions, in 1921, 1922, and 1923, all of his goods were sold. Fortunately, he was able to buy back the Manolo sculptures that he had previously owned.[5] He continued to edition the models, always carefully marking them with their number and any other details on a label glued discretely on the inside of the work. The Head of a Bearded Man was planned as an edition of 15; however, at this time, no other example is known.

[1] In. Manolo, New York, Galerie Chalette, October 7—November 2, 1957 (preface by D-H Kahnweiler), p.4.
[2] Blanch, 1974, n°443 : Manolo, Portrait de Calvet, 1920, terra-cotta, h. 26 cm, Museum of Modern Art in Céret.
[3] Blanch, 1974, p.50.
[4] Blanch, 1974, n°96: Manolo, Josep Maragall, 1923, terra-cotta, h. 32.5 cm, Maragall Sister collection, Barcelona.