Pablo Picasso, ‘REMBRANDT À LA PALETTE’, 1934, Christopher-Clark Fine Art

This etching, the earliest reference to Rembrandt that appears in Picasso’s work, dates from January 27, 1934, and was the result of a technical accident. While working on the etching, that later became part of the Suite Vollard, Picasso encountered problems with the etching ground. The following week Picasso’s dealer, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, recorded in his diary these words of the artist: “Imagine, I made a portrait of Rembrandt. It was another case of the cracking varnish. I had an accident with the plate and said to myself, its ruined so I’ll do any old thing on it. I began to scribble and it turned into Rembrandt. I liked it so I continued. I even made a second, with his turban, his fur, and his eyes, those elephant eyes you know them. Now I’m working this plate further to get blacks like his; you don’t get that in one sitting.”

In Picasso’s later years the specific sources in Rembrandt’s work are clearly identifiable. However, this first appearance of Rembrandt in Picasso’s art is most likely a composite image of Rembrandt summoned from Picasso’s deep familiarity with the old master’s work.

Signature: Hand-signed in pencil in the margin lower right Picasso, also inscribed with the date in the plate “27 janvier / XXXIV” (in reverse) lower left.

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