British Museum opens Picasso Prints. The Vollard Suite

The British Museum presents Picasso Prints. The Vollard Suite, an exhibition on view 3 May – 2 September 2012.

Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), Blind Minotaur Led by a Little Girl in the Night. December 1934. Aquatint with scraper, drypoint and engraving. Presented by the Hamish Parker Charitable Trust in memory of Major Horace Parker. © Succession Picasso/DACS 2012.

The Museum has recently acquired a complete set of Picasso’s Vollard Suite – 100 etchings produced by Picasso between 1930 and 1937. This is the only complete Vollard Suite held by a public museum in the UK. The exhibition will display the suite alongside classical sculpture, Rembrandt etchings and Goya prints – all influences on Picasso in this body of work.

The predominant theme of the suite is the Sculptor’s Studio – 46 of the 100 etchings reflect Picasso’s developing interest in classical sculpture. The prints were made when Picasso was involved in a passionate affair with his young muse and model, Marie-Thérèse Walter, whose presence is another recurrent theme in the series. The focus on classical linearity and the studio alternate with darker, violent forces, represented by scenes of brutal passion and by the Minotaur, the mythical half-man, half-bull which became central to Picasso’s personal mythology.

The suite is named after the avant-garde Paris art dealer and print publisher Ambroise Vollard, for whom Picasso produced the etchings. The final three prints in the series are portraits of Vollard himself.

This is a rare opportunity to see perhaps the most important set of prints made in the 20th century by one of the world’s most popular artists.

This landmark acquisition was made possible through the generosity of the Hamish Parker Charitable Trust in memory of the donor’s father, Major Horace Parker. –

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