A bit of history of the Picasso's most significant print

19 Apr, 2017 Blog

It is a strange and desired feeling when you come across the subject of your research in real life.

From March till early September 2017 in Musée Picasso (5 rue Thorighny, Paris 3rd) there is an "Olga Picasso" exhibition. About 350 objects tell the story about and around the first wife of Pablo Picasso, Russian dancer from Djagilev troup - Olga Khokhlova. This is where I met La Minotauromachie, the etching with a history.

La Minotauromachie is Picasso's most significant and important print. It was etched on to a copper plate, and printed by the renowned Parisian printshop, Atelier Lacouriere (Riva Castlemen, Prints of the 20th Century 110 (1988)).

There are only 13 signed prints of La Minotauromachie still in existence. It is believed that only 50 impressions were made from the initial plate although Picasso claimed in his lifetime that only 30 prints were made. There are 39 unsigned prints most of which are in the possession of the Picasso estate (Alfred M. Fischer, Picasso: Druckgraphische Werke die Sammlung Ludwig 8 (1993)).

What else is interesting about La Minotauromachie - it is the print's creation process. According to a common practice, before the limited edition series is printed, initial prints are pulled so that the artist may examine, refine and perfect the prints to the desired final state. These working proofs or trial impressions are often different from the impressions made in the edition. In Picasso's La Minotauromachie, the impression of the working proofs looked significantly different than the final impression. The image became darker and more ominous as both Picasso and the master printer Roger Lacourière reworked the plate unsatisfied with the initial impressions (Alfred M. Fischer, Picasso: Druckgraphische Werke die Sammlung Ludvig 27 (1993).

La Minotauromachie



P.S. The full name of Pablo Picasso - Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso


Picture on preview and in the text taken when visiting the exhibition "Olga Picasso" in Musée Picasso (5 rue Thorighny, Paris 3rd), in April 2017