This picture by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was painted in 1905 and belongs to his "période rose" following a depressed "période bleue". It is a moving picture of a young arlequin looking with compassion at a wounded acrobat who hurted his arm during a show in the circus. Pablo Picasso was then living in Paris and used to go often to the circus Medrano with his Fernande Olivier, a model, who would be his mistress for seven years.
It is the first Picasso to be exhibited (at the Paris Show in 1905) and the first also to be illustrated in Guillaume apollinaire's magazine La Plume. It was also exposed to the Venice Biennale of 1905 and was eventually the first painting by the artist to enter a museum in 1911, the Stadtische Museum in Elberfeld (Germany).
In 1937 it was confiscated by Paul Josef Goebbels, minister of Propaganda of the Nazi governement in Germany, as representative of the "degenerated art" or "entartete kunst". It was sold by the Nazis in the galerie Fischer in Lucerne (Switzerland) to a Belgian collector named Roger Hanssen for 80,000 FS. Until 1988, it went into different private ownership.
It was then sold in 2 minutes at an auction held by Christie's of London to Mr. Akio Nishino, art director of Mitsubishi Department Store for 19 million pounds, i.e. 38.4 million dollars with the buyer premium.