Figures of Picasso: Important Original Prints 4
Pablo Picasso Figures of Picasso: Important Original Prints
January 25 - March 16, 2019
Railyard Arts District | 1613 Paseo de Peralta | Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 | tel 505.988.3250 www.lewallengalleries.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
cover: Jacqueline au bandeau. II (Bloch 1080), 1 1962, linocut printed in colors on arches wove, 13.75 x 10.625 inches
Figures of Picasso: Important Original Prints The shadow of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) towers over the world of art. Picasso’s prodigious creative impulse, combined with a larger-than-life personality, led to his stature as a seminal artist across media and time, which continues today. Prior to his death in 1973, Picasso created an astonishing variety of work in painting, sculpture, and collage, though it is his prints—more specifically, his figural prints—that trace the intersection between Picasso’s life and art most completely and deeply. For Picasso, printmaking encouraged a diaristic and thematic approach to subject. The process of printmaking, and more specifically its likeness to drawing, allows us a glimpse at the bare threads of Picasso’s thoughts and reflections. Particularly in his printmaking, Picasso chose to use the figure as a vessel for the many formal innovations for which he gained such a reputation: mark-making, line, form, space, as well as an experimental approach to process and media. Picasso’s distortion of form and figure implicated a variety of formal and aesthetic matters, but perhaps also those of a more personal nature. They reveal an artist in the process of personal reflection, with a penchant to explore the avant-garde and express it in his work. Simultaneously they left an indelible mark on Modernism and changed the art world. This LewAllen exhibition covers the span of Picasso’s printmaking oeuvre, featuring one of his first cataloged prints, Salomé (1905), which was created in collaboration with the Parisian printer Delâtre while Picasso was still quite poor. This work is among a portfolio of Saltimbanque intaglio prints, considered part of his Rose Period, which feature recurring dreamlike characters supposedly drawn from Picasso’s life among the bohemians of turn-of-the-century Paris (saltimbanque is French for “street performer”). In this drypoint, his characters act out Picasso’s interpretation of the Biblical story of the execution of John the Baptist. One of the later works selected for the exhibition is from 1962, Jacqueline au Bandeau, a striking linocut portrait of Picasso’s second wife, her face shown simultaneously from both sides. It is a bold, dimensional work, and quintessential Picasso. Spanning these poles are works that echo critical moments in Picasso’s figures within each of his styles, including his early figural naturalism, Cubism, Neoclassicism, ancient myth, and more. In other ways, Picasso’s prints distill the relationship between Picasso’s art and the sense he had of his art as a form of autobiography. His prints might be seen as a pictorial chronicle of the artist’s life—his moods, loves, passions, and insecurities. He believed that the figure offered the potential 2
for an unusual degree of experimentation with line, space, and form—and the ideal subject by which to explore themes of identity and interpersonal relationships. These figures, echoing across canvas, sculpture, and his original prints, appear as characters acting on stage, and provide onlookers with insight into Picasso as both artist and man. Naturally, many of his figures are sourced directly from Picasso’s personal life: friends, lovers, wives. Often, too, his figures can be thought of as symbols for his own alter-egos: the Minotaur, the bull, and the sculptor. All are seen as metaphors for Picasso’s exploration into the multi-faceted, often conflicting forces inside him: both the noble artist and the wild untamed beast. Images of Picasso’s love interests form the basis for a variety of his formal and aesthetic experiments. In some works, his lovers are depicted with a sense of drama or emotional expression; others with tenderness, as in Femme veillant une Dormeuse (1932), others enveloped in masculine bravado, as in Marie-Thérèse en Femme Torero (1934). Still other works on view illustrate Picasso’s visionary use of line and reduction of form, or his use of fantasy and distorted figuration, as in his color engraving of Surrealist photographer Dora Maar (the artist’s lover and muse for nine years), Tête de Femme No.7 (1939). The work is a classic example of Picasso’s lyrical facial fragmentation. Femme au Fauteuil No. 4 (1949) pictures Picasso’s lover and mother of two of his children, Francoise Gilot, seated majestically—and with an air of domesticity—in a strikingly patterned lithograph printed at the famous Atelier Mourlot. Another highlight of this LewAllen show, Sculpture, Tête de Marie-Thérèse (1933), portrays the head of his lover from 1927 to 1935, but rendered as though she were a Neolithic sculpture. In this work, Marie-Thérèse Walter’s features are reduced to structural, rather than anatomical components, and one can sense Picasso’s search for formal, or perhaps personal, understanding. Other impressions, such as Modèle, Tableau et Sculpture (1933), explore the metaphorical relationship between artist and model – lover and muse, desirer and object of desire. Themes of identity and ego are evident, too, in Profil de Marie-Thérèse en abyme (1934), which includes both sculptural busts and masked figures. These two prints are among a number of allegorical images within the Suite Vollard, which is a series of 100 etchings in Neoclassical style and made by Picasso from 1930 to 1937. These scenes are set within a sculpture atelier and seem to examine art’s role in imitating life, or perhaps even obscuring or augmenting it. 3
Figures of Picasso: Important Original Prints While many of his works make explicit autobiographical references, others take on further layers of universal meaning in referencing historical story, archetype ands Greek myth. Such is the case in the large 1949 aquatint, Venus et l’amour, which alludes to the classic Renaissance painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder entitled Venus and Cupid from four centuries prior, but rendered here by Picasso in a highly contemporary, stylized pictorial language. Picasso also found significant inspiration in historic literature, returning repeatedly to characters drawn from Fernando de Rojas’s La Celestina (1499)—as in Maison Close: Le Chocolat (1955)and Gentilhomme et Maja (1968)—and to creatures from Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon’s Histoire Naturelle (1749)—as in Le Singe (1936) and La Biche (1936). These characters often become avatars for figures within the artist’s personal mythology. In many ways, Picasso’s distortion of the figure can be seen as a visual record of his own self-reflection, but it is also important to note its occurrence during a particularly tumultuous era in world history. World War I, World War II and a Civil War in his native Spain rocked the cultural landscape and caused a mass dislocation of people across the globe. In addition, a rapidly changing society and a growing curiosity in cultures around the world led to the gradual upending of convention and tradition, including the world of art. In altering the figure, Picasso’s art reflects these many changes: often in the same image, Picasso juxtaposes the classical past with his own uncertain, personal, and changing present. In the wake of such constant turmoil, his figures are disobedient to naturalism and to convention. Their ordinary form buckles under the weight of all of these forces—and what remains is Picasso. Picasso’s reputation afforded him the opportunity to work in collaboration with many of Europe’s preeminent master printmakers and in a prodigious variety of printmaking media: intaglio etching, drypoint, aquatint, lithography and linocut (see Glossary of Terms included at the back of this catalog). His superb technical dexterity—but also a desire to push the boundaries he felt around him—led to a remarkably imaginative approach to both material and image, and expanded what people thought possible in art. Picasso’s printmaking career yielded revelatory work that powerfully encapsulates the revolutionary experimentations and innovations with line, volume, and space for which he is known. Beneath the figural subject matter of these works is the visual language of printmaking, and of the unassuming inked line: the incised line of etching, the transferred lithographic crayon, or in the carving of a 4
linoleum block. Perhaps more than in his painting, collage, or assemblage, in his printmaking there is evident the magical act of tracing the hand of the artist. As onlookers, we are left, in the words of David Breslin of the Menil Collection, “at the border of Picasso’s enacted thought.” Rooted on the edge between the personal and the archetypal, the historical past and Picasso’s individual present, Picasso’s figural prints hold within them a timelessness that underscores a new way in which we—both as onlookers and artists—view and feel in the world in the 20th and 21st centuries. With more and more of Picasso’s prints exiting the market through museum acquisition, this exhibition offers up the opportunity to acquire an important piece of art history.
One of Picasso’s earliest prints, Salomé is among the most important of the Suite des Saltimbanques, a series of intaglio prints that Picasso produced during his Rose Period. These depict itinerant street performers, dreamlike figures supposedly drawn from Picasso’s life among the bohemians of turn-of-thecentury Paris. Here, his characters act out the Biblical story of Salomé, her stepfather King Herod, and the execution of John the Baptist.
SalomĂŠ (Bloch 14), 1905, drypoint on paper, 16" x 13.75" 7
This intricate etching, included in Picasso’s popular Suite Vollard, was executed in the summer of 1934 at the height of Picasso’s relationship with Marie-Thérèse Walter, and at a time where both avidly followed the bullfights as they toured through Spain. MarieThérèse En Femme Torero is indicative of both Picasso’s chaotic passion and his infatuation for Walter, combining imagery from classical mythology, Spanish tradition, and his own personal life in a single image.
Marie-ThĂŠrĂ¨se en Femme Torero (Bloch 220), 1934, etching printed on Montval laid paper, 11.625" x 9.25" 9
In this image, Picasso shows two elegant, athletic nudes—both of whom resemble his mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter—at a traditional bath and engaged in conversation. Women at the bath is a subject that has been treated by artists for centuries, but Picasso brings a modern twist by playing with the formal elements of the composition—where the two women overlap—and distorting the imagery in a number of ways. Such exaggerations and abstractions become increasingly pronounced in Picasso’s work over the following decade, particularly in his depictions of the female body.
Deux Femmes au Bain (Bloch 209), 1934, etching printed on laid Montval paper, 10.875" x 7.75" 11
Surrealist photographer Dora Maar, who was Picasso’s lover during much of the European upheaval in the 1930s, often appears in his work in severely fragmented, distorted form during this time. In Tète De Femme No. 7, four separate plates were used—one for each color, the texture of the ink created through the use of sandpaper on the plate. The result: an extraordinary, experimental tour-de-force in the drypoint medium—and an image which is quintessential Picasso.
TĂŞte de Femme No.7. Portrait de Dora Maar (Bloch 1336), 1939, drypoint and sandpaper printed in four colors on Montval laid paper, 11.75" x 9.25" 13
Considered one of Picasso’s finest prints, the artist worked the copper plate for this image through twenty exploratory states in which he rotated the abstracted, sculpted head of his lover, MarieThérèse Walter, and adding varied levels of shading. The result is a print that combines Cubism—through the ghost images of other views of her head—with Naturalism, but with a modeled dimensionality that abstracts her form as if she were a Neolithic sculptural bust.
Sculpture, Tête de Marie-Thérèse (Bloch 250), 1933, drypoint on laid paper, 12.5" x 9" 15
The renowned Suite Vollard is a series of etchings in Neoclassical style that were made by Picasso from 1930 to 1937, named for the art dealer who commissioned them, Ambrose Vollard. Many of the works in the Suite Vollard have been understood as the artistâ€™s interpretation of the main theme behind the ancient myth of Pygmalion, who sculpts an ideal woman out of ivory and falls in love with his creation. In referencing these ancient stories, Picasso synthesizes his own personal mythology.
ModĂ¨le, Tableau et Sculpture (Bloch 151), 1933, etching printed on laid Montval paper, 10.375" x 7.5" 17
This etching, along with Modèle, Tableau et Sculpture, are part of a number of images within the Suite Vollard which are set in a sculptor’s studio. Between 1933 and 1934, Picasso created a number of plaster sculptures of his model and mistress, MarieThérèse Walter, in addition to a number of etched images that seem to be inspired by this theme. In both of these works, and through a variety of means, Picasso reflects on the shifting boundaries between art and life, fantasy and reality.
Profil de Marie-ThĂŠrĂ¨se en abyme, jeune homme au masque de minotaure et vieux aux barbu oreille d'ane (Bloch 279), 1934, etching printed on laid paper, 8.625" x 12.25" 19
In the summer of 1964, Picasso created his Fumeurs, a series of sugar-lift aquatints of a young man wearing a sailor’s striped shirt and with a cigarette in his mouth, each image conveying a different mood. They are executed with broad brushstrokes and printed in a vibrant palette à la poupée. These works are understood to be self-portraits – Picasso was a smoker and one of his most favorite things to wear was the striped shirt of the French marines.
Fumeur Barbu (Bloch 1170), 1964, sugarlift aquatint printed a la poupĂŠe on Auvergne Richard de Bas laid paper, 16.25" x 12.5" 21
L’Aubade was created for the printing of Fernand Crommenlynck’s play, “Le Cocu Magnifique.” The suite of works for the play was printed at the Atelier Crommenlynck, a studio founded in 1955 by Fernand’s sons Aldo, Milan, and Piero. The Crommenlynck atelier, which had worked with a number of notable artists including Joan Miro, Le Corbusier, Jean Arp, and Alberto Giacometti, had set up a studio nearby Picasso’s home in Southern France when Picasso said that he desired one nearby.
L'Aubade (Bloch 1253), 1966, etching and aquatint printed on Rives wove paper, 8.625' x 12.625" 23
This rare sugar-lift aquatint depicts a scene from Fernand de Rojasâ€™ 1499 story, Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea. Pictured is the point in the story in which the character Celestine (right) brings the lovers Melibea (left) and Calisto (center) their morning chocolate. The figures of the lovers are thought to channel Picasso himself (even as he got older, Picasso would depict himself as a young man) and Jacqueline Roque, Picassoâ€™s second wife.
Maison Close: Le Chocolat. II (Baer 922), 1955, sugarlift aquatint, etching and burin with scraper printed on Arches wove paper, 17.75" x 25.375" 25
In this unusually large and important aquatint, Picasso was inspired to interpret a painting by German Renaissance artist Lucas Cranach the Elder (c. 1530) from a postcard sent to him by his friend and legendary art dealer, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Picassoâ€™s interest at this time in the theme of Venus and Cupidâ€”symbolizing the great universal theme of romantic loveâ€”suggests it was a happy period in his life (his mistress, Francoise Gilot, had just given birth to their second child).
Venus et l'amour, d'aprĂ¨s Cranach (Bloch 1835), 1949, aquatint and drypoint on Rives wove paper, 31" x 16.875"
Femme au Fauteuil is among Picassoâ€™s most iconic works in the medium of lithography. During his time working at the Atelier Mourlot in Paris, he produced a number of exploratory lithographs that he transformed through many progressive states. This work is an example of Picasso at the height of his creativity with the media. Printed from the final state of the plate, this image depicts a seated, regal-looking Francoise Gilot (Picassoâ€™s lover and mother to two of his children).
Femme au Fauteuil (d'aprĂ¨s le violet) (Bloch 588), 1949, lithograph on Arches vellum, 27.875" x 20.5"
Gentilhomme et Maja (Bloch 1616), 1968, sugarlift aquatint and drypoint with scraper printed on Auvergne Richard de Bas laid paper, 4.75" x 2.75" inches 30
Gentilhomme Et Maja & La Sérénade are generally thought to depict characters from Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea (1499) by Fernando de Rojas, considered one of the greatest works of historic Spanish literature. Over his career, Picasso created numerous images of the main characters, Calisto and Milibea, often thought of as stand-ins for Picasso and his lovers. These two sugar-lift aquatints are part of the Suite 347, named for the number of etchings and aquatints that Picasso created between March 16 and October 5, 1968. With ribald humor and irony, Picasso seemed to reflect on his oftencomplicated life in these images of fantasy and imagination.
La Sérénade (Bloch 1599), 1968, sugarlift aquatint and drypoint with scraper printed on Auvergne Richard de Bas laid paper, 4.75" x 2.375" inches 31
Buste de Femme au Fichu (Bloch 324), 1939 Aquatint, burin, and scraper printed on Montval laid paper, 11" x 13.875"
Buste de Femme au Fichu is a rare example of relatively straightforward portrait of Dora Maar. She is shown in profile with a scarf around her hair, a serene smile on her face. Maar’s temperament was changeable, and here Picasso depicts her in a moment of sweetness. As noted by Maar’s biographer, Mary Ann Caws, friends and acquaintances recall that her eyes could be either “compassionate and kind, or intense and burning” – her neighbor remembered that Dora Maar’s eyes had “extraordinary gentleness and depth.” In this etching, Picasso reveals what they must have seen: the deep, endless eyes are framed by her famous lashes and dramatic brow.
Faune Flûtiste was created for the publication of Deux Contes, a volume by Picasso’s deceased friend and writer Ramon Reventos. Deux Contes (Two Tales) featured two stories: “Le Centaure Picador” (The Centaur Bullfighter) and “Le Crépuscule d'un Faune” (The Twilight of the Faun), of which this etching depicts the latter’s eponymous character. The Faun—half man, half goat— figures in many of Picasso's works, often as a substitute for the artist himself.
Faune Flรปtiste. II (From Deux Contes) (Bloch 474), 1948, drypoint printed on Lana wove paper, 11.875" x 8.625" 35
While Picasso often depicted groups of three women in his earlier work, he began to depict intimate scenes between two women with increasing frequency in the 1930s. These female duos are frequently interpreted as a representation of Picasso’s conflicts, desires, and fantasies surrounding his dual love interests. The seated woman at left resembles his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter while the sleeping woman, who may symbolize his wife Olga, has more generalized features. Sleeping is a common motif in Picasso’s work of this period which he used to signify a number of emotional states, including loneliness, bliss, and ignorance—the latter in this case. The hazy quality of the image underscores its symbolic meaning—a depiction of the two women in his life, one of whom is unaware of the other.
Femme veillant une Dormeuse (Bloch 238), 1932, Etching printed on Montval laid paper, 7" x 11.75" 37
The following five animals were created by Picasso as a part of suite of sugar-lift aquatints illustrating a printing of Histoire Naturelle by Georges-Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon (1707-88), originally published in forty-four volumes between 1745 and 1804. Produced through an extraordinarily difficult process to master, the thirty-two animals Picasso depicted in his plates are considered among the highest level of achievement in the sugarlift technique in the history of printmaking. These are imagined to have been created as amusing images for his daughter Maya, born just a year earlier. They have captivated and delighted everyone who sees them since they were published, possibly more so at the time of their release in 1942, as the world was at war and was in desperate need of light diversion.
Le Toro Espagnol (Bloch 331), 1936, sugarlift aquatint, drypoint, burin, and scraper, 11.5" x 9.25" 39
Le Singe (Bloch 339), 1936, sugarlift aquatint, drypoint, burin, and scraper, 11" x 8.75" 40
La Biche (Bloch 336), 1936, sugarlift aquatint, drypoint, burin, and scraper, 11" x 8.75" 41
Le Cheval (Bloch 328), 1936, sugarlift aquatint, drypoint, burin, and scraper, 10.625" x 8.188" 42
Le Taureau (Bloch 330), 1936, sugarlift aquatint, drypoint, burin, and scraper, 13" x 9.5" 43
La Poule (Bloch 694), 1952, aquatint, drypoint, and scraper printed on Arches wove paper, 20.125" x 26.125" 44
Le Crapaud (Bloch 585), 1949, lithograph printed on Arches laid paper, 19.625" x 25.25" 45
The Atelier Mourlot in Paris, established in 1852, collaborated with a diverse range of renowned artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Joan MirĂł, Marc Chagall, Fernand LĂŠger, Jean Dubuffet, Henry Moore and Le Corbusier. This exhibition includes a selection of historic lithographic works printed by the atelier, which created the lithographic plates after images by Picasso from earlier in his career.
(After Picasso), MusĂŠe National d'Art Moderne, Le Cubisme, 1953, lithograph, 27.875" x 20.125" 47
(After Picasso), Bouteille de Rhum Paillee, 1966, lithograph, 21.875" x 16.875" 48
(After Picasso), Bouteille de Bass, Verre et “Le Journal”, 1966, lithograph, 21.875" x 16.625" 49
(After Picasso), Le Corsage RayĂŠ, 1949, lithograph, 21.5" x 16.75"
(After Picasso), Clown for Leiris, 1969, lithograph printed by the Atelier Mourlot, 29.85" x 21.25" 51
PRINTMAKING GLOSSARY OF TERMS À la poupée ● An inking technique which allows for the printing of an impression in multiple colors in a single run through the press. In this process, each color is applied with a ball-shaped wad of fabric to different areas of the plate before pressing it to the paper. Aquatint ● An intaglio etching technique in which a copper plate is dusted with powdered rosin and placed in an acid bath that eats around the dust, producing subtle pits that print—when inked—as a granular tone. A difficult technique to master, aquatint is usually combined with other methods, like line engraving, drypoint, and etching ground, to create lines on the granular surface. Artist Proof ● An impression taken by the artist which has been set aside. These impressions are considered outside the regular edition, but are equal in quality, and often thought more desirable because of their relative uniqueness. Drypoint ● An intaglio technique in which a pointed steel needle is used to make incisions in a zinc or copper plate which create soft, yet hard-edged lines when printed. Edition ● The set number of prints, or impressions, struck from a plate. Etching ● An intaglio printmaking process in which the artist applies a layer of ground to a copper plate, and then scrapes it away with a tool to expose the bare copper in the manner of the artist’s intended design. When placed in an acid solution, the areas uncovered are incised by the acid, creating a reservoir for ink when printing. Intaglio ● A printmaking technique which often includes copper-plate engraving processes such as etching, drypoint, etching, and aquatint. In most cases, ink in the plate’s recessed areas is transferred to damp paper by running both through an etching press. Linocut ● A method of relief printmaking where the design is carved into a block of linoleum. The carved-away, recessed areas do not pick up ink, so that the raised, untouched areas of the linoleum carry the ink and print. Lithograph ● A method of printing from a stone surface or zinc plate on which the printing areas are not raised or engraved, but made ink-receptive while the non-image areas are made inkrepellent, typically through the usage of oil and water. State ● A state of a print includes all the impressions pulled without any change being made to the printed image. Picasso would often work on a single image over the course of a few days, making various changes and thus creating different states with only a few impressions pulled from each. Sugarlift Aquatint ● A type of aquatint printmaking using a paint brush and a sugar solution to create an etching, the end product having painterly qualities that recall a brush drawing. 52
Railyard Arts District | 1613 Paseo de Peralta | Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 | tel 505.988.3250 www.lewallengalleries.com | email@example.com ÂŠ 2019 LewAllen Contemporary, LLC 54 Artwork ÂŠ Estate of Pablo Picasso