By Pablo Picasso
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Reference: Bloch 579, Mourlot 128
Edition size: 50 numbered plus 5 artists proofs
Sheet size: 62 x 47 cm
Lithograph: edition on Arches paper of 50 numbered plus 5 artists proofs
620 x 470 mm.; 24 3/8 x 18 1/2 inches
Signed and numbered
Picasso: Works on Paper, R. S. Johnson Fine Art, 2004: no. 27 and reproduced on page 69 of the catalogue.
In November of 1948, Picasso returned to Paris and, during a period of eight months, he executed relatively few paintings and concentrated his creative efforts in the medium of lithography. His efforts reached a sort of frenzy over the two days of November 20 and 21 when he executed a series of six lithographs Figures (Mourlot nos. 126, 127, 128, 129, 130 and 131). From that now rare group of lithographs, this Figure, (ref. Mourlot 128) is one of the strongest and most beautiful works.
In order to relate Picasso’s lithographs to the history of lithography as a whole, it is essential to understand the similarity of methods and approaches that align him with one earlier lithographer: Francisco Goya (1746-1828). Both of these Spanish artists loved the vigor of expression found in the works of Velasquez and both found special inspiration in the etchings, drawings and paintings of Rembrandt. Goya and Picasso also shared a fascination with virtually every form of print-making and an interest in experimenting endlessly with all the technical possibilities and problems involved. In lithography, invented around 1798 and thus well after the deaths of Velasquez and Rembrandt, Goya and then later Picasso each combined aesthetic and technical mastery with extraordinary capacities for inventiveness. Similar to Rembrandt’s attitude towards the etching plate, Goya and Picasso had a common perception of the lithographic stone as an entity to be obsessively attacked and re-attacked, worked and re-worked until every possible iota of expression has been wrenched from its stony surface.