Of course they do not cheat me Consistent with this opinion, the printer broke into pieces the lithographs dedicated by Picasso again and again, until in the end he got Picasso to stop giving them, offering him instead bottles of port wine, what the stamper interpreted as a sign that Picasso was becoming less scratchy.
If he had kept the tests that the painter man dedicated to him, most of which were not published commercially and can only be admired now in one lucky museum, Tutin would have become a millionaire. The smokescreen of Kahnweiler's cold theory Among the reasons that could impel Picasso to 'go back' to lithography, we can suppose that one is that the technique provides the painter with an opportunity.
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The critic Kurt Leonhardrecalls an aspect of Picasso's personality: That could have driven him to dedicate himself to lithography. This procedure allowed him to preserve every stage of the creative work, as he did in some way asking DoraMaar to photograph each stage of his work in Guernica. The Spaniard had also pointed out to Zervos that "it would be interesting to fix the evolution of a painting on film". The problem is that in oil painting, and leaving aside the preparatory studies in another medium or size, each stage of the creative work is buried in the final work.
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However, in lithography it is possible to record each phase of the painter's work, because he can print, as Picasso often did, 'state proofs' of each modification made to the lithographic stone or zinc plate. After each change, the stone or plate remain irremediably changed, but the state proofs preserve what was each previous stage. In the case of Picasso, the lithographic technique allows him to keep samples of each step of his work. If we look at the number of impressions he will make of his lithographs, we realize that there is a clear contradiction, at least from the commercial point of view.
In a natural way, we should suppose that the object of the painter's work is, through a series of stages, to produce a final work that will be commercialized by Kahnweiler. Well, if we take for example the case of his famous 'decomposition of the bull' that he realizes shortly after settling in Mourlot's workshop, we will observe that of the eleven states that Mourlot registers later we will see that he actually did some more , only one, the last, was published commercially, but from the artistic point of view they are all independent works and have a similar value.
In short, the fruit of the entire process will be only one edition of fifty numbered and signed copies of the final state, which is actually the least elaborate of the entire series. But Picasso ordered to print —to take them home— 18 artist proofs from each of the states. In total, the final commercial product of the six long weeks in which the painter focuses on this project between Wednesday, December 5, and Thursday, January 17, is only 50 prints.
But there is still a by-product that the painter remains, without sharing it with the Galerie Louise: In any case, it seems clear that the successive states are not only stages in the way of obtaining the final result, but works worthy of being appreciated independently, even if they are part of a whole. It seems clear that Picasso's objective in making this series is not to produce the commercial lithograph known as the eleventh state, but the very exercise of the production of the series.
The painter has fun, he challenges himself and the lithographic technique and his compensation for so much effort is not the last state and the money that its marketing will provide, but the own path traveled and what it produces: It is also useful to illustrate what the lithographic technique offers to the painter the work Les deux femmes nues, in which Picasso worked between November 10, and February 12, That is, he started it a month before the decomposition of the bull and finished a month after ending that series.
Observing each one of the states 30 we have before us an impressive sample of the creative process of the painter, and of which there would be no trace if it were a painting. The last state is of a nature completely different from the first few states and it could be said that these are more beautiful. And again, the final state is printed at 50 numbered and signed copies. Against that, 19 artist proofs of each intermediate state have been produced, this is more than lithographs that Picasso keeps and that, in one way or another, will end up in museums or in the market.
In addition, as Jean Adhemar recalls, above all other graphic techniques etching, aquatint, drypoint, linoleum , lithography offers Picasso the broadest field of action and the greatest creative possibilities.
The lithographic stone offers the supreme suppleness to combine lines and colors, designs or impressions of colors or shapes. Even if you use zinc plates instead of stones, as Picasso is often forced to do when he left Paris for the Cote d'Azur, the plates can be treated with lithographic ink or even be 'bitten' by the acid, in the manner of etching. The painter can even use transfer or report paper, which also offers unique possibilities and which Picasso often uses.
All lithographs in which the date pre- written by the painter is read from left to right have been made using transfer paper. The other dates, as in etchings, have been naturally 'turned' only once when printed and can not therefore be read naturally, while with the transfer paper they are turned twice, the first time going from the transfer paper to the stone and the second from the stone to the paper, which returns the left-right sense that Picasso originally used. Another reason that could theoretically have prompted the painter to make lithographs, as he had previously done etchings, is to 'popularize art.
The critic and collector Castor Seibel remembers that he acquired his first lithographs of Braque in , when he was only 24 years old, and studied and worked at the same time. The price was so reasonable that he could afford it with just a few extra hours in his work But despite the fact that Picasso declared in to art critic Anatole Jakovsky that he was dissatisfied with the limited number that was printed of his lithographs and that he was soon to execute prints with a larger print run that would be sold at an affordable price to reach an audience that could never buy his paintings 32, his exclusive contract with Kahnweiler prevented that desire from being realized.
None of the lithographs marketed by his dealer were printed to more than 50 numbered and signed copies. The person who decided which plates should be printed or not was Picasso himself, without Kahnweiler being able to influence the decision. The Andalusian simply gave the order to print the 50 copies.
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Once printed, Mourlot took them to Picasso to be signed and then they were delivered to Kahnweiler, who then paid painter and printer the agreed amounts. In this sense there is no doubt that it was Picasso himself who deliberately decided the limitation on the number of lithographic works that came out onto the market. But Kahnweiler or his successor and stepdaughter Louise Zette Leiris —single Louise Godon, married in to ethnologist and poet Michel Leiris, a friend of Picasso's since his youth— did the same with his graphic work as with his paintings: But this probably did not displease Picasso at all, that like every painter preferred that his works sell expensive, independently of what he charged for them.
Only the lithographs of Picasso made around the French Communist Party, notably for the newspaper Le Patriote of Nice, with the theme of the dove of peace or others, came to have a wide dissemination and were sold at 'democratic' prices , although they ended up mostly in the hands of dealers. It could be said that Picasso uses the lithographic technique to satisfy four main objectives. In the first place it is, as we have seen, to explore a means of expression that will allow him to make some of his masterpieces, with the additional advantage of being able to follow and 'preserve' the stages that lead to the final work.
Second, this technique provides him with regular income. It is not that the painter makes lithographs to earn money that he did not obtain from paintings, but rather that his investment of time and effort in lithography, which is often —as we will see later— is very considerable, is compensated with a regular and adequate remuneration.
And this is achieved because Kahnweiler always has clients for the graphic work of Picasso, including at times when it is very frequent.
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These two aspects constitute what the technique contributes to Picasso, artistically and economically. But the painter also uses it to fulfill other altruistic objectives. On the one hand, he uses lithography, in the same way he has used etching before, to contribute to books of friends, especially poets, such as Reverdy or Cocteau, greatly facilitating their sale and popularity.
The friendship with the intellectuals has been a constant of Picasso both in Spain and especially since he 33 Mourlot , p. Apart from the fascination produced by the overflowing verb of writers, especially the French, given his limited command of this language.
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To Picasso, aspiring bard who admires this ability as an art as powerful as painting, poets provide not only the spiritual nourishment that allows him to learn and advance, but also essential contacts to be present in the French art scene. During the first half of the 20th century, poets are the intellectual vanguard of France, and their social leadership is unquestionable.
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And since liberation, in , communist intellectuals dominate the French cultural scene, and Picasso is very close to them. Fourth, the lithographic technique is the most used by the painter to offer his solidarity to the causes that matter to him, mostly linked to his militancy in the French Communist Party. Some of these initiatives undoubtedly had as final recipient of the funds the Spanish exile. In addition, lithography is just another form of engraving, and we know that Picasso uses this artistic technique to relax, to overcome the stress caused by painting.
The person who was his secretary in his last years gives us evidence of that when he tells us that when the painter dedicated his time to making prints he remained accessible and in a good mood, he talked with who passes by his side and accepted willingly to interrupt his work to attend to whatever they ask, whether to receive a visit or give instructions on how to react to a phone call.
However, when he paints he is another man, he remains locked in himself, does not accept any interruption and is not in the mood to chat. In those moments, his secretary must act as an 'invisible man' until the painter has solved the artistic puzzle that occupies his mind None of the numerous studies on the painter, not even those dedicated especially to his graphic work, explain the circumstances or the reasons that prompted Picasso to explore the lithographic technique. Perhaps the specialists considered that the interest to know the details of the reason of the sudden impulse of Picasso to come to the Rue Chabrol was purely anecdotal, without any academic interest.
They saw no reason to dig further into the matter given its lack of transcendence. However, two elements suggest that the interest in knowing the profound reasons that drive the painter to develop a lithographic career and the circumstances in which this occurs goes beyond the simple anecdote. The first is the intensity of Picasso's effort in his new technique.
In fact, the painter turned literally from November 2, into lithographic production. The second element that justifies the search is the precursor character of Picasso in the matter. For Carsten-Peter Warncke, the intensity of Picasso's lithographic effort must be found in the playful pleasure that the technique offers the painter. The most widespread explanation of the reason behind the installation of Picasso in Rue Chabrol is provided by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, very close to Picasso, and that apart from the painter or Mourlot, would appear as the right person to give it to the extent that he had an exclusive contract to market all his graphic work.
The winter of was very cold in Paris, and the coal reserves had not been reconstituted. The private residences had no heating and Picasso's studio was frozen. The lithographic press of Mourlot, as an industrial building, had a share of coal. The photographer had indeed indicated in his book Conversations avec Picasso when asked about how Picasso began to make lithographs, that at that time it was cold in his apartment and he preferred to work in a heated studio.
It was for that purely material reason that he devoted himself to lithography Interestingly, Leonhard attributes the beginning of the linoleum career of the painter to the difficulty and delays of transporting lithographic stones from the workshop of Mourlot to Cannes, also following here Brassai He forgets that this difficulty, alleviated by the work with zinc plates and report paper, did not prevent the painter from continuing to work with Mourlot, or to make for example the lithographs of Le Chant des Morts.
Thus, Bernd Rau, in his book Pablo Picasso graphic work, states: As we will see, this is not true at all.