Pablo Picasso, ‘Bacchanale Au Hibou’, 1959, Onessimo Fine Art

One Arches Paper, Edition of 50
"The Bacchanal was often a subject depicted by Picasso with much fondness, liveliness and energy. Taken from the Greek and Roman festivals which celebrated the god of wine, Bacchus, they were typically attended by only women who danced, played music, and of course, drank wine. In Picasso’s works as in this Bacchanale linocut, we see an array of characters suspended in thrilling animation as we are given just a peek into their grand celebration. Set before a majestic and enchanting landscape of mountain peaks, the composition is dynamically anchored along the lower margin to hold our partygoers."

Roland Penrose, Picasso’s lifelong friend and biographer, has written of the importance that the owl had for the artist: ‘Owls and doves, two birds of such different nature, were his lifelong companions. They both had significance for him which bordered on superstition. The owl with its rounded head and piercing stare seems to resemble Picasso himself. During his stay in Antibes during the late 1940s, an injured owl was brought to the artist and, after repairing its damaged foot, he kept it with him and began ‘once more to be fascinated by its strange aloof behavior and to introduce it into his paintings, his lithographs and later his ceramics’. This pet owl was christened Ubu, partly out of assonance with the French word for owl hibou, and partly after the obnoxious hero of Alfred Jarry’s play Ubu Roi. As grumpy as his namesake, this little owl apparently provoked the artist to win his confidence: ‘[Picasso] used to stick his fingers between the bars of the cage and the owl would bite him … Finally the owl would let him scratch his head and gradually he came to perch on his finger instead of biting it.’ Picasso himself was something of a night-owl when it came to making art. Ten years later, at the time he created Danse nocturne avec un hibou, ‘he told how once, while he was painting at night, a large [owl] flew in at the window and after battering itself against the glass, perched on top of the canvas on which he was at work. It had come, he thought, to prey on his pigeons that flew at liberty from the terrace outside the window during the day.’"

Signature: Signed

Publisher: Wilhelm Boeck - Editions Cercle d'Art

About Pablo Picasso

A prolific and tireless innovator of art forms, Pablo Picasso impacted the course of 20th-century art with unparalleled magnitude. Inspired by African and Iberian art and developments in the world around him, Picasso contributed significantly to a number of artistic movements, notably Cubism, Surrealism, Neoclassicism, and Expressionism. Along with Georges Braque, Picasso is best known for pioneering Cubism in an attempt to reconcile three-dimensional space with the two-dimensional picture plane, once asking, “Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?” Responding to the Spanish Civil War, he painted his most famous work, Guernica (1937), whose violent images of anguished figures rendered in grisaille made it a definitive work of anti-war art. “Painting is not made to decorate apartments,” he said. “It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.” Picasso’s sizable oeuvre includes over 20,000 paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, theater sets, and costume designs.

Spanish, 1881-1973, Malaga, Spain, based in Paris and Mougins, France