Pablo Picasso, ‘DAVID ET BETHSABÉE (after Lucas Cranach)’, 1949, Christopher-Clark Fine Art

One evening King David saw from the roof of his palace a young woman bathing. This was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. David had her brought to the palace and made love to her. She became pregnant. Later David wrote to Uriah’s army commander ordering him to put Uriah at the front of the hottest battle so that he would die. This came to pass, and Daivid married Bathsheba. In this lithograph Bathsheba is seen bathing, assisted by her attendants, while being watched from the battlements of his castle by King David.

According to Picasso’s lithographer Fernand Mourlot:
At Picasso’s request a transfer to stone was made of the sixth state of the zinc. Lithographic stone is much more pleasant to work and especially to scrape than zinc. Taken to the artist’s studio in the Rue des Grands Augustins, in November 1948, it was placed on a large cast-iron cooking pot, but Picasso seldom went near it. “It frightens me. I dare not touch it,” he told me when I inquired about it. However, the stone was attacked once more, worked on and scraped; one day some te-touching with a pen, the next day a long session of scraping, then a re-working of the blacks, etc. Picasso would no doubt still be working on it if, having to leave for the South of France at the beginning of June 1949, he had not asked that the stone be removed and a proof pulled. At present the stone is at the printing works . . .

Series: Edition of 50

Signature: Hand-signed in multi-colored pencil in the margin lower right Picasso, dated on the stone “7.4.49” (in reverse) and “25.5.49” lower left. 

Betsy G. Fryberger, Picasso Graphic Magician: Prints from the Norton Simon Museum, Philip Wilson Publishers Limited, London, 1998, no. 24, p. 143 (ill.).

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