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This is one of the major works from Picasso’s entire Suite Vollard. Over a period of about seven years (1930-1937), this suite was commissioned by Ambroise Vollard in separate groups of etchings and drypoints. The total finally came to 97 works to which Picasso added three portraits of Vollard himself. Upon the death of Vollard, at the beginning of World War II, the editions of these etchings and drypoints were acquired (or perhaps taken) by Vollard’s assistant Martin Fabiani and then, with the exception of the three portraits of Vollard, were acquired by the print dealer Henri Petiet.
At first view, the Suite Vollard etchings appear “classical and understandable”, very different from Picasso’s later works such as his 347 Series of etchings of 1968. However, there is great similarity between Picasso’s objectives and accomplishments in these two apparently disparate periods. In both cases, Picasso takes underlying and “understandable” subjects from which he creates new forms which, in themselves and in their juxtapositions with one another, have their own beauty.