Pablo Picasso, ‘Imaginary Portrait’, 1969, Onessimo Fine Art

On Arches Paper, Edition of 250
About the Imaginary Portraits:
The series of twenty-nine lithographs in colors was published by Harry N. Abrams, New York, and printed by Marcel Salinas under the direct supervision and written approval of Picasso. Two editions of this series were printed, an American edition of 250, annotated with an “A”, and a French edition of 250, annotated with an “F”. The lithographs were done in 1969 when Picasso was 87 years old.
For this series, Picasso was inspired by large panels of corrugated cardboard that were lined up against the wall in his studio. Using gouache with quick, deliberated, colorful brushstrokes, the artist spent two months creating twenty-nine imaginary portraits of his own invention. Although not specifically identified, his subjects were famous literary figures and fictional characters. Suggested hairstyles, facial hair, clothing, and accessories offer clues to the identities of the portraits.
“Near the end of Picasso’s career he developed a self-referential style that is very succinct and abbreviated, where he’s quoting his own gestures, quoting his own images, and doing them with simplicity. [The lithographs] borrow from his cubism, his surrealism, and that’s what you see in this last series of prints that he made before he died.” – Joesph Bravo, Director of IMAS

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

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