• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7570

    Old Master, Modern and Contemporary Prints

    2 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 255

    Pablo Picasso

    Buste de Femme d'aprés Cranach le Jeune (B. 859; Ba. 1053 III Cb)

    Price Realised  


    Pablo Picasso
    Buste de Femme d'aprés Cranach le Jeune (B. 859; Ba. 1053 III Cb)
    linocut in colours, 1958, on Arches, signed in red crayon, inscribed Epreuve d'artiste and dedicated in ink Para el amigo Duncan, Picasso, el 8.2.59, one of approximately 15 artist's proofs aside from the edition of fity, published by Galerie L. Leiris, 1958, with full margins, a deckle edge on three sides, attenuated, generally in good condition
    B. 650 x 535 mm., S. 763 x 575 mm.

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    A peculiar mixture of geographic necessity and artistic curiosity led Picasso, at the age of 78, to turn away from etching and lithography, hitherto his favourite means of graphic expression, and take up linocutting, a technique he had all but ignored. Although linocuts were to form a relatively small part of Picasso's output as a printmaker (approximately 150 images from a total exceeding 2000), he was to produce some of his most oustanding compositions by this method, in a short burst of activity from 1958 to 1963.

    Working with the help of a young printer from Vallauris named Arnèra, he worked on an interpretation of Lucas Cranach the Younger's 'Portrait of a Young Girl', inspired by a postcard of the subject went to him by Daniel Henry Kahnweiler. The resulting work is the most important of the artist's colour linocuts and is a virtuoso performance, using incredibly complicated technical skill to create an image of striking vitality.

    This impression is dedicated to the celebrated photographer David Douglas Duncan. It was Robert Capa who first suggested to his fellow photojounalist to make contact with Pablo Picasso. From Duncan's first photograph of the artist in his bath in La Californie in 1956, it was clear that their relationship would be a remarkable one. One of the few people privileged have unlimited access to Picasso's studios and homes, Duncan took 10.000 photographs over a 17 year period until Picasso's death. Duncan's images are intimate and spontaneous and constitute a fascinating photographic diary of the artist's everyday life.

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