Pablo Picasso, ‘José Delgado: La Tauromaquia’, 1959, Christie's
Pablo Picasso, ‘José Delgado: La Tauromaquia’, 1959, Christie's
Pablo Picasso, ‘José Delgado: La Tauromaquia’, 1959, Christie's
Pablo Picasso, ‘José Delgado: La Tauromaquia’, 1959, Christie's
Pablo Picasso, ‘José Delgado: La Tauromaquia’, 1959, Christie's


Watermark Bull's Head, hors-texte, with title, text in Spanish, table of contents and justification, unsigned, copy number 151/250, from the standard edition of 220 (the total edition was 263), printed by Atelier Lacourière, Paris, published by Ediciones de la Cometa, Barcelona, the full sheets, loose (as issued), within the original grey paper folder with the title printed in drypoint on the front, in very good condition; all within the original parchment-covered boards and slipcase with the title in gilt on the spine, with some minor wear, otherwise in good condition
Plates 200 x 295 mm. (and similar)
Sheets 350 x 500 mm. (and similar)
380 x 520 x 70 mm. (overall)

From the Catalogue:
Written in 1796 by the legendary bullfigher José Delgado, colloquially known as Pepe Illo, La Tauromaquia is the first documented handbook for bullfighting. It was a source for the series of etchings of the same title, by Francisco y Lucientes Goya first published in 1816, in which he famously depicted Pepe Illo’s fatal goring by the bull Barbudo as the final plate in the suite. Picasso, a life-long lover of the corrida de toros, knew and admired Goya’s La Tauromaquia. However, where the former’s imagery highlights the brutality and violence of the mortal struggle between man and beast, Picasso’s rendering evokes its poetry. Following the bull from the tranquillity of the field into the bull ring, Picasso charts the course of the numerous encounters between the torero and the bull. Executed directly onto copper, he produced all 26 plates in one sitting, using a sugar-lift solution of ink mixed with syrup applied with brush. The scenes are rendered with an extraordinary economy recalling the fluid precision of Chinese brush paintings. Each pass of the bull and torero is reduced to its essence, focusing the eye on the pivotal flourish of a cape or lunge of the torero’s sword. Leaving large areas of the sheet empty, Picasso uses the contrast between the black figures and the white ground to suggest the brilliance of the noonday sun. The cover, the only plate executed in drypoint, features a kite flying over a bull in a landscape, a visual pun referencing the publisher’s imprint Ediciones de la Cometa, cometa meaning kite in Spanish.
—Courtesy of Christie's

Christie's Special Notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

Bloch 950-976; Baer 970-996; Cramer Books 100

Sotheby's, London, 30 June 1993, lot 622.

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