Pablo Picasso, ‘La Tauromaquia’, 1959, Wallector
Pablo Picasso, ‘La Tauromaquia’, 1959, Wallector
Pablo Picasso, ‘La Tauromaquia’, 1959, Wallector
Pablo Picasso, ‘La Tauromaquia’, 1959, Wallector
Pablo Picasso, ‘La Tauromaquia’, 1959, Wallector
Pablo Picasso, ‘La Tauromaquia’, 1959, Wallector
Pablo Picasso, ‘La Tauromaquia’, 1959, Wallector
Pablo Picasso, ‘La Tauromaquia’, 1959, Wallector

Edition of 263 copies including the complete set of 26 aquatints made by Pablo Picasso with the sugar lift aquatint technique. One of the 220 copy on Guarro wove paper. Copy signed and numbered in pencil on the justification by Picasso himself. Original yellow cloth-covered slipcase, Parchment-covered boards with the title in gilt on the spine. On front-paper, an original and unsigned drypoint made by Picasso depicting a Bull.
La Tauromaquia is probably the best known and appreciated illustrated book by Pablo Picasso. It inherits its own text from the book written by the bullfighter José Delgado (alias Pepe Hillo, or Ilio) in 1796, with the intent to develop a sort of theoretical and pedagogic manual of the art of Tauromaquia.

Picasso worked on this book since 1957 making of this book a true masterpiece for the publisher Gustavo Gili of Barcelona.

The full title is “The Tauromaquia o Arte de Torear, obra utilisima para los toreros de profesiòn, para los aficionados y para toda clase de sujetos que guten de toros por Josè Delgado alias Pepe Illio”.

To reconstruct the fascinating story of this book, one must start with Picasso’s passion for bullfights: he was always interested and fascinated by Tauromaquia, since he was a boy when his father brought him to attend bullfights in Malaga.

Bulls and bullfights therefore became one of his most important inspiration source when thinking about his artworks. He shared his passion for bullfights with some of his famous friends and colleagues, as Georges Braque, Max Jacob, Henri de Montherlant, René Char, Jean Cocteau.

The realization of “Tauromaquia” is less immediate than it may seem, covering almost a decade of Picasso’s life. In 1927 the publisher Gustavo Gili (father) had commissioned the artist and wanted the volume to be included in the “Ediciones de la Cometa”, owned by himself.

Picasso produced several engravings for this order made by Gili, but did not provide the publisher with sufficient material to produce the entire volume. It was only in 1956 that Gili’s son, also named Gustavo, remembered Picasso’s pledge to his father, and asked him to finish the volume. The following year, in 1957, Picasso maintained this promise and delivered a complete set of engravings inspired by the Easter Bullfight of Arles and printed them in 1959. In this work, Picasso demonstrated how engravings made with simple techniques can reveal the genius of an artist.

Just like this, Picasso’s masterpiece was created, made up of 26 aquatints, that transformed Pepe Hillo’s book into one of the most important art books of all time. By illustrating Pepe Hillo’s words, Picasso did not use precedent illustration books, not even from the previous Tauromaquia by the great Goya. The basis of his work was his aficionado experience as well as the great amount of observations gathered in decades of attending bull fights.

The Picassian engravings are fresh and immediate, representing with vibrant spots, each and every phase of the great Spanish show. The technique used by Picasso is “Sugar lift aquatint”, a technique through which the Spanish painter emphasizes the emotion of the scenes while maintaining a formal elegance and balance of extraordinary beauty. Beautiful copy, in perfect conditions.

Signature: Copy signed and numbered in pencil on the justification by Picasso himself.

Publisher: Barcelona, Gustavo Gili

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

Group Shows

2015
Gagosian - Jason Ysenburg, 
NY,
Art Basel Miami Beach 2015
2015
Gagosian - Freja Harrell, 
New York,
Miami Basel 2015
2015
Gagosian - Jason Ysenburg, 
NY,
Art Basel 2015
2015
Gagosian - Rysia Murphy, 
Gagosian - Rysia Murphy at SP-Arte 2015
View Artist's CV