Christie’s: Prints & Multiples

Live bidding opening in
Pablo Picasso, ‘La femme au chapeau’, 1962, Christie's

Signed in pencil, numbered 43/50 (there were also twenty artist's proofs), published by Galerie L. Leiris, Paris, 1963, the full sheet, pale light- and mount staining, otherwise in good condition, framed
Image 535 x 395 mm., Sheet 625 x 443 mm.

From the Catalogue:
Picasso’s first involvement with linocut printing had been rather casual. In 1952 he had produced a series of simple posters for the potters of Vallauris, a village in the hills above Cannes. It was a combination of geographic necessity and artistic curiosity which led him, at the age of 78, to turn away from etching and lithography – hitherto his favourite means of graphic expression – and take up the linocut technique again.

Picasso had left Paris with Jacqueline Roque in 1958, dividing his time between Villa La Californie at Cannes, and the newly acquired Château de Vauvenargues, near Aix-en-Provence. A major practical drawback of this move was the delay in communicating with the printing studios in Paris. There plates could be proofed and returned within hours; now it took days, robbing Picasso of the immediate contact with his printers.

Six years after his initial foray into linocut printing, Picasso began working with the young printer Hidalgo Arnéra, re-imagining Lucas Cranach’s sober Portrait of a Young Girl. The resulting print is astonishing, but he found the process too labour-intensive and complicated, as it had required the cutting and registering of six different colour blocks, to be printed precisely on top of one another. To remedy these technical problems Picasso came up with an extraordinary solution: rather than use separate blocks for each colour, he printed the whole image from just one block in the so-called ‘reduction’ method. The block was printed in the lightest colour, then cut further and printed successively from the lighter to the darker colours. While making the task of registration much simpler, it required a tremendous power of imagination to foresee how each change in the block would affect the composition as a whole. It was precisely the kind of artistic experiment which Picasso enjoyed - a creative liberation.

Although linocuts form a relatively small part of Picasso’s oeuvre as a printmaker, he created some of his most outstanding compositions in this technique, in a short burst of activity between 1958 and 1963.
—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 1145; Baer 1323

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