Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)

Ovide, Les Métamorphoses. Albert Skira, Lausanne, 1931

Details
PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
Ovide, Les Métamorphoses. Albert Skira, Lausanne, 1931
the complete set of 30 etchings, hors and in-texte, on Arches paper, with title page, text in French, table of contents and justification, signed in pencil on the justification page, copy 92 of 95 on this paper (from the total edition of 145), loose (as issued), with original printed wrappers, slipcase and portfolio box. 13 x 10 in. (330 x 253 mm.)
album
Provenance
Werner Bokelberg Collection
Literature
Bloch 99-128; Baer 143-172; Cramer books 19

Condition Report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

‘Among the etchings of 1930 is the suite he produced for Skira’s edition of the Métamorphoses of Ovid. From Françoise Gillot’s account it seems that Albert Skira, then a young moneyed Swiss with vague ambitions in the publishing line, asked Picasso to illustrate a book about someone – about Napoleon, for instance. Picasso had nothing whatsoever to say to Napoleon. During the summer Skira’s mother waylaid Picasso on the beach at Juan-les-Pins, pleaded her young man’s cause with gentle persistence, and gradually wore down Picasso’s resistance: he hated to see a disappointed face. To give pleasure he would give an amiable but insincere reply; and well-conducted importunity could then extort marvels from his unwilling hand. This time he said that her son should think of ‘a classical author – perhaps something mythological’. By great good luck Skira chanced upon Ovid, and the Metamorphoses Picasso had come by a nodding acquaintance with the poet in the remote La Coruna; he had recently designed a number of works actually called ‘Metamorphoses’; and at that moment he was living on the shore of the classical sea, in a landscape inhabited for him by fauns, satyrs, minotaurs, and even nymphs. He agreed. Back in Paris Picasso withdrew into this ageless retreat and turned out plate after plate with great zeal; and after each plate was done he would reach for a trumpet that he happened to possess, open the window, and blow a blast. Skira, who had taken an office next door, so that now Picasso had his dealer on one side and his publisher on the other, would come running. All these plates were neo-classical outline-drawings that kept closer to Ovid than even his earlier work did to Balzac, both in the letter and in the spirit; and they illustrated the death of Orpheus, the fall of Phaeton, and many other powerful myths with compositions that from a lesser hand would have been a welter of tight-packed limbs but that he imbued with a fine flowering harmony. They are exquisite, and when they were published the next year they were received with great applause’ (Patrick O’Brian , p.285-286).

More from Prints and Multiples

View All
View All