Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga in the south of Spain in 1881. He studied art from a young age, initially under the tutelage of his father, also a painter, before moving to Paris in 1900. Picasso went on to dominate European art throughout almost the entire of the twentieth century until his death in 1973. He accumulated great wealth and fame from a young age. Picasso was an incredible innovator and was at the forefront of multiple movements from Surrealism to Cubism to Neoclassicism. His legacy continues to dominate the discussion around painting and print-making over forty years since his death and no doubt will continue to do so for many decades to come. Many consider him the greatest artist to have ever lived.
Picasso was a hugely prolific printmaker, producing somewhere in the region of 2,000 subjects. He placed great emphasis on printmaking as an art form equal to painting and sculpture. And so it is a great honour that La Galerie is able to display many fine examples of two of Picasso’s printmaking techniques: intaglio, such as etching; and his linocuts.
Picasso’s etchings are represented in the exhibition by a selection of prints taken from his Suite Vollard. The Suite Vollard is one of the greatest achievements in print of the twentieth century and is composed of 100 subjects produced by Picasso over a seven year period from 1930 to 1937 and commissioned by the renowned publisher, Ambroise Vollard. Complete sets are held by all the great institutions of the world, from the British Museum to Le Louvre in France – the latter whom in 2008 loaned their entire suite to The University of Hong Kong Museum and Art Gallery. We are particularly thrilled to be able to show around 20 exceptional individual impressions from the Suite Vollard, all with an impeccable provenance.
Alongside the Suite Vollard, we are also showing a set of six engravings which were produced by Picasso in 1953 as illustrations for Maurice Toesca’s short stories, Six Contes Fantasques.
Picasso brings colour to this stunning exhibition in the form of his linocuts from the 50s and 60s. Linocut printmaking had been reasonably neglected as a technique before Picasso took it up.
During the same period, Picasso was producing his famous, playful ceramics with the Madoura Pottery, also based in Vallauris. On display at La Galerie is one such example of a goat’s profile, no doubt based on his pet goat, Esmeralda, who roamed freely about his villa. It was whilst working at the Madoura workshop that he met Jacqueline Rocque who was to become his final lover and eventually his wife. He made many linocuts of Jacqueline, a beautiful example of which is included in the exhibition.