till January 17, 2016.
Graphics from the Kunstpalast Museum’s collection, Duesseldorf.
Pablo Picasso is, without a doubt, the most famous artist of the 20th century. The artist was not only active as a painter and sculptor, but also left behind an extensive collection of graphic works. From his first etching in 1904 until the last years of his life, prints remained an integral part of his work, totalling eventually 2.400 images.
One is amazed not only by the magnitude of this productivity, but also by the technical diversity of his graphics. Picasso made use of the full spectrum of graphic techniques, ranging from drypoint, aquatint, lithography and linocut, to rare and complex methods such as sugar lift and experimental combinations of various techniques.
The themes of his graphics mirror his entire painting universe: figurative representations with portrait characteristics appear alongside still lives, animal illustrations and allegorical and mythological scenes. Most of the time, they were linked to his personal fortunes, often a direct reflection of his daily routine. Whenever he was inspired by literary works, he took the freedom of reinterpreting the original texts and gave characters, such as the bull-man „Minotaur“, both positive and negative features.
With a total of 73 prints, the Stiftung Kunstmuseum Duesseldorf (Duesseldorf Art Museum Foundation) possesses a graphic cross-section of most of the artist’s creative phases from the 1920s on. Among these are unique prints, such as the rare 1924 etching „Maternité“ (Maternity) or the 1929 figure (Bather Opening a Cabin), as well as series and portfolios such as the illustrations for the story „Chef d’oeuvre inconnu“ (1952) by Honoré de Balzac, or prints from the famous „Suite Vollard“, a series of graphics purchased from Picasso by the art dealer Ambroise Vollard, which was only published after Vollard’s death at the end of the 1940s.
The portfolio of bullfighting depictions „La Tauromaquia“ (1959) – inspired by José Delgado y Galvet’s book which explained, for the first time in 1796, the process of bullfighting – is complete, as well as the enigmatic series „Poèmes et Lithographies“ (1960), where, on each plate, Picasso inscribed individual, somewhat surreal handwritten texts which contrast with the masterful illustrations.
In a 1968 multiple-figures scene, which is part of a vast graphic series, the 87-year old artist reunites once again the themes of his painting theatre: painter and model, the different stages of life, allegories of freedom (the lamb), masculine strength (the horse), tamed by the tender gesture of the figure on the right, and erotic obsessions – so to speak the banishment of fear, just a few years before the artist’s death, and the longing for mythical happiness.
On the occasion of the exhibition at the Museum im Kulturspeicher in Wuerzburg, the collection of Picasso’s graphic works from the Kunstmuseum Duesseldorf will be published for the first time. A selection of photographs, taken by Hubertus Hierl in 1966 when Picasso was visiting a bullfight in Arles, complete the exhibition.