Graphics

Young Picasso’s pencil drawings (“Pigeons” (1890) can be considered his first graphic works; then, he continued practicing graphics parallel to creating painting and sculptural compositions as well as those related to applied and decorative arts. His cooperation with “Russian Ballet”, Dyagilev’s ballet company, resulted in creating numerous pencil linear portraits: those of Dyagilev, Bakst, Stravinsky, Sati, de Falla, and Derain as well as more complicated stroked sketches of Myasin, Cocteau and Ansermet where certain caricature features are noticeable. At the same time images of ballet dancers were created in the neoclassical style. But Picasso remains true to himself: if only you enlarge hands, the image of the ballet dancer who is “so airy and appealing for kisses”, turns out to be ironically tinted.

In the 1920s Picasso makes illustrations to books of poems and amuses himself with graphic copies of photographs. In 1927 he illustrates “The Unknown Masterpiece” by Balzac and later creates cycles of graphic works to illustrate “Metamorphoses” by Ovid (1930) and “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes (1934). Classical mythology as a language which can be used to tell about modern times provoked interest of not only men of letters in the 20th century. Mythological images fascinated Picasso as well. In “Metamorphoses” he uses the same laconic outline drawing conveying movement of figures in a few perspectives at the same time. Each composition is framed freehand.

From 1930 to 1936 Picasso creates the so called “Vollard Suite”. Among 100 engravings made for collector Ambroise Vollard, most plates (46) are dedicated to the theme called “the Sculptor’s Studio”. His affair with young Marie-Thérèse Walter was reflected in the series reconsidering the story of Pygmalion and his Galatea ("Sculptor"). The second theme by the number of works (15) is the myth of the Minotaur, a bull-headed man, who can be seen as personification of the artist himself (“the Blind Minotaur, Guided by a Girl”).

In 1937 Picasso creates the anti-fascist series of etchings “Dream and Lie of Franco” and after the war, in 1949, his poster for the World Peace Congress becomes widely known. In the 1940-50s a man with a bull mask appears in lithographs instead of the Minotaur (“Dance of the Banderillas”). Brutality gave way to play. The play was continued by Picasso in the last years of his fruitful life. He started playing with well-known works of art creating their numerous variations including graphic ones. These comprise “Las Meninas” by Velasquez, the “Luncheon on the Grass” by Manet (including that in the linocut technique) and variations on the theme of Ingres’s paintings.

From 1950s to 1970s Picasso was very active. He still worked when he was 80 and 90 years old. In 1968 Picasso created 347 engravings ("Suite 347") in seven months. The artist made one plate each day (sometimes more). Experimenting with techniques he tried pickling, aquatint and dry point. Suite 347 can be considered the master’s diary where fancy and biographical events are intertwined. These include 66 engravings illustrating the piquant novel “La Celestina” by Fernando Rojas, playing with predecessors’ works, theater and circus stories.

Picasso became a mythological Midas in art turning everything he touched into gold. There was an episode which can be an illustrative example: Picasso decided to commission some furniture and drew a sketch of it for a cabinet maker. When asked about the price, the cabinet maker answered it was enough to sign his sketch. Isn’t that a graphic work by the great master?

Pablo Picasso. Study for a torso, 1892
Study for a torso, 1892
Pablo Picasso. Matador, 1897
Matador, 1897
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Françoise, 1946
Portrait of Françoise, 1946
Pablo Picasso. Couple, 1973
Couple, 1973
Pablo Picasso. Profile of human rights, 1892
Profile of human rights, 1892
Pablo Picasso. Three Dancers, 1919 - 1920
Three Dancers, 1919 - 1920
Pablo Picasso. Bullfight and Pigeons, 1890
Bullfight and Pigeons, 1890
Pablo Picasso. Pigeons, 1890
Pigeons, 1890
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 21, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 21, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Group of Dancers. Olga Kokhlova is Lying in the Foreground, 1919 - 1920
Group of Dancers. Olga Kokhlova is Lying in the Foreground, 1919 - 1920
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Igor Stravinsky, 1920
Portrait of Igor Stravinsky, 1920
Pablo Picasso. The Frugal Meal, 1904
The Frugal Meal, 1904
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Dora Maar, 1937
Portrait of Dora Maar, 1937
Pablo Picasso. Woman Malaga, 1891
Woman Malaga, 1891
Pablo Picasso. Minotauromachie, 1935
Minotauromachie, 1935
Pablo Picasso. Woman with pillow (Jacqueline), 1969
Woman with pillow (Jacqueline), 1969
Pablo Picasso. Crane goat, bottle and candle, 1945
Crane goat, bottle and candle, 1945
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 22, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 22, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Head of a Woman (Françoise), 1946
Head of a Woman (Françoise), 1946
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Fernande, 1906
Portrait of Fernande, 1906
Pablo Picasso. Head of a Woman, 1946
Head of a Woman, 1946
Pablo Picasso. Head of a Woman: Madeleine, 1905
Head of a Woman: Madeleine, 1905
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Ambroise Vollard, 1910
Portrait of Ambroise Vollard, 1910
Pablo Picasso. Woman-flower (Françoise Gilot), 1946
Woman-flower (Françoise Gilot), 1946
Pablo Picasso. Love, naked, Harlequin and Pierrot playing guitar, 1918
Love, naked, Harlequin and Pierrot playing guitar, 1918
Pablo Picasso. Man head with pipe, 1911
Man head with pipe, 1911
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 01, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 01, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 04, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 04, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Female acrobat [L`acrobate], 1930
Female acrobat [L`acrobate], 1930
Pablo Picasso. Bebe Paulo, 1922
Bebe Paulo, 1922
Pablo Picasso. Weeping Woman I (III), 1937
Weeping Woman I (III), 1937
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 12, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 12, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Head of a Woman (Françoise Gilot), 1945
Head of a Woman (Françoise Gilot), 1945
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 11, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 11, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Minotaur, 1933
Minotaur, 1933
Pablo Picasso. Female bust, 1967
Female bust, 1967
Pablo Picasso. Bathers on the beach, 1920
Bathers on the beach, 1920
Pablo Picasso. Man head, 1910
Man head, 1910
Pablo Picasso. In the lodge (Portrait of Jane Avril), 1901
In the lodge (Portrait of Jane Avril), 1901
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Maya, 1939
Portrait of Maya, 1939
Pablo Picasso. Bust of a Woman (Françoise Gilot), 1946
Bust of a Woman (Françoise Gilot), 1946
Pablo Picasso. Seated Woman (Jacqueline), 1962
Seated Woman (Jacqueline), 1962
Pablo Picasso. Blind Minotaur led by a little girl, 1934
Blind Minotaur led by a little girl, 1934
Pablo Picasso. Crane goat, bottle and candle, 1952
Crane goat, bottle and candle, 1952
Pablo Picasso. maternity, 1903
maternity, 1903
Pablo Picasso. Woman-flower (Françoise Gilot), 1946
Woman-flower (Françoise Gilot), 1946
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Olga, 1919
Portrait of Olga, 1919
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Paul Langevin, 1945
Portrait of Paul Langevin, 1945
Pablo Picasso. Harlequin with child, 1905
Harlequin with child, 1905
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Françoise Gilot, 1946
Portrait of Françoise Gilot, 1946

All artworks by years