*25 October 1881 in Màlaga, Spain
+8 April 1973 in Mougins, France
Pablo Picasso was born on 25 October 1881 in Malaga, Spain. His artistic work is versatile, and with curiosity and a passion for experimentation he has always explored different techniques and materials to express his artistic urge. In addition to his paintings, his oeuvre also includes sculpture, ceramics and prints. He devoted himself to printmaking with great pleasure, and by the time he died his graphic oeuvre comprised almost 2,000 works.
During the various periods of his life, Picasso always enjoyed the use of various different printmaking techniques. In the early stages of his life he started to make etchings, the most famous of which was “Le Repas frugal” from 1904. In the 1930s, etching, aquatint and sugar aquatint were Picasso’s preferred print media. A highlight in the use of this technique is to be found in the Suite Vollard. The Suite Vollard, a series of 100 sheets created between 1930 and 1937, picks up on a theme that Picasso repeatedly deals with in his oeuvre: The relationship between the model and the painter.
Picasso produced his first lithographs between 1919 and 1930. The second, more important phase, however, began in 1945, when Picasso started making lithographs in Fernand Mourlot’s studio. In lithography, he particularly appreciated the innumerable possibilities of this medium: it allowed both a painterly and a graphic approach. The portrait heads of Françoise Gilot, his lover at the time, are especially worth mentioning.
Picasso took up linocut at the beginning of the 1950s. For the first time, color becomes important, because Picasso now worked more with colored fields than with lines. It didn’t take long, however, and the artist invented two new techniques to achieve more complex results with linocut and to bring the line more into focus.
In his late work Picasso turned again to etching. The opening of a print shop by the Crommelynck Brothers near his home seemed to be one of the reasons. Like a diary, Picasso created a great number of etchings, with themes varying from erotic scenarios to reflections on his own oeuvre. Picasso died at the age of 92, on 8 April 1973 in Mourins, France.
Printmaking was an important part of his artistic career. Immediately congenial to painting, sculpture and drawing, Picasso treated themes and thoughts in this medium that were relevant to his oeuvre as a whole. Some of the motifs that the artist captures on his canvases are first to be found in his graphics. For Picasso, the choice of technique always implies the attempt to use the right medium for the particular theme.