From La Tauromaquia
1959 Aquatint



Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

In 1957, the Barcelona-based publishing house Gustavo Gili commissioned Pablo Picasso to illustrate the century-old book La Tauromaquia o Arte de Torear (Tauromachy or the Art of Bullfighting). In the span of a few weeks that summer, Picasso etched 26 plates for the book, each depicting different moments in the bullfight. Picasso created this portfolio with a technique that was unusual for him, the sugar-lift aquatint, which allowed him to paint directly on the copper plates with a brush. His use of this process proved incredibly successful, evoking the tension, action, and choreography of the bullring through suggestive shapes and lines. Picasso’s life-long fascination with bullfighting — at once performance and a ritual — began during his childhood, when he would frequently accompany his father to the bullfights hosted in Málaga, his native city. Picasso’s preoccupation with the bullfight remained a recurring theme in his work, exploring dualities such as love-and-eroticism; violence-and-purity; executioner-and-victim; and light-and-shadow, amongst others.

From La Tauromaquia 
Aquatint Etching on Paper
19"x12" framed, 10.25"x3.5" unframed 

Limited edition of 263. Unsigned. Good vintage condition, white gouache marking at center of image. Stamped on back with Bassett collection estate stamp. Framed in a contemporary Mid Century Modern beveled wood frame with a black finish using 8-ply archival matting behind conservation clear glass.

From the estate of Edyth and Phillip Bassett. 

Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and stage designer considered one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century. Picasso is credited, along with Georges Braque, with the creation of cubism. As an artist and an innovator, he is responsible for co-founding the entire cubist movement alongside Georges Braque. Cubism was an avant-garde art movement that changed forever the face of European painting and sculpture while simultaneously affecting contemporary architecture, music and literature. Subjects and objects in cubism are broken up into pieces and re-arranged in an abstract form. During the period from approximately 1910-1920 when Picasso and Braque were laying the foundation for cubism in France, its effects were so far-reaching as to inspire offshoots like the styles of Futurism, Dada, and Constructivism in other countries.

Picasso is also credited with inventing constructed sculpture and co-inventing the collage art style. He is also regarded as one of three artists in the twentieth century credited with defining the elements of plastic arts. Because Picasso’s art from the time of the Demoiselles was radical in nature, virtually no 20th-century artist could escape his influence. Moreover, whereas other masters such as Henri Matisse or Braque tended to keep within certain stylistic boundaries, Picasso continued to be an innovator into the last decade of his life. His work is held by every major modern art institution around the globe as well as the Museu Picasso, an institution dedicated to his work, located in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

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