Picassomania / Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Grand air, 1936 (A fine impression, one of circa 12 proofs of the third final state aside from the edition of ten, printed by Lacourière, published by Guy Lévis Mano, Paris, as an illustration for Paul Eluard's Les yeux fertiles)
£10,000 - £15,000
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
inscribed Epreuve d'artiste in pencil (lower right)
etching with scraper, on Montval laid paper with Montgolfier watermark
51 x 33.1cm (20 1/16 x 13 1/16in).
A fine impression, one of circa 12 proofs of the third final state aside from the edition of ten, printed by Lacourière, published by Guy Lévis Mano, Paris, as an illustration for Paul Eluard's Les yeux fertiles
Georges Bloch, Catalogue de l'oeuvre gravé et lithographié, Volume I, 1904-1967, Berne, 1968 (Bl.289).
Geiser & Baer, Picasso Peintre-graveur, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre gravé, Volume III, 1935-1945, Berne, 1986 (B.608.III.B)
Patrick Cramer, Pablo Picasso: The Illustrated Books Catalogue Raisonné, Geneva, 1983 (CR.27)
Paul Eluard was a French poet and one of the triumvirate, together with André Breton and Louis Aragon, who founded the Surrealist movement. A lifelong friendship with Picasso began when they both worked on the Surrealist publication Minotaure in 1933 and in 1936 Picasso provided illustrations for Eluard's poem Grand Air for his volume Les Yeux Fertiles.
Picasso was fascinated by the figure of the Minotaur, representing divergent forces of sensuality and aggression within man's nature and frequently included it in compositions in reference to himself. In this etching, he portrays his new companion Dora, as a female Minotaur, a unique portrayal in his work and an indication of his high esteem.
The two figures represent universal opposites of male and female and the battle for harmony. The female Minotaur battles with the sun, reflecting its rays with a mirror until it is blinded. The theme of blindness was another recurring subject for Picasso and Eluard also refers to 'the beasts we know but cannot see'.
Collaboration with master printer Roger Lacourière enabled Eluard to write the text of the poem on a copper plate and Picasso to add the illustrations, resulting in a successful symbiosis between the visual art and the written word. The success of this collaboration led to partnerships with other writers and the production of several important livres d'artiste.
This impression compares in quality to the one at MOMA, New York.