Cuenca Exhibition

Picasso, printmaker (1904-1935)

February 26, 2013May 12, 2013

Picasso's prints from the cubist period (1909–1915)


In 1909, two years after painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Picasso approached printmaking from the conceptual and expressive orientations that defined Cubism. Prints from this period—many of them illustrations for books by friends such as Max Jacob—are constructed out of a framework of thin and deeply-etched lines that, breaking with traditional perspective, give rise to a new kind of space in which objects appear decomposed into multiple planes and points of view. From these years are Picasso's illustrations for Jacob's novel, Saint-Matorel—which are considered a fundamental contribution to Analytic Cubism and on which Picasso began work during his stay at Cadaqués in the summer of 1909—as well as for Jacob's Le Siège de Jérusalem (1914), the prints for which are more in keeping with Synthetic Cubism. On occasion, Picasso incorporated letters into his Cubist compositions, as in Nature morte, bouteille (Still Life with Bottle, 1912), while in others he used papier collé or scraps of newspaper, as in L'Homme au chien (Man with Dog, 1914), in an effort, by means of collage, to link art to things from reality itself.