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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)
LOT ID: 63776
Minotaure aveugle guidé par Marie-Thérèse au pigeon dans une nuit étoilée (from Vollard) , 1934

Aquatint, Drypoint, and engraving on Montval laid paper
9.5 х 13 in. (24.13 x 33.02 cm.)
Signed, "Picasso" in pencil lower right.
Print/Casting Year 1939
Edition 310
Foundry/Publisher Vollard, pub. Paris
Lot description
Full margins. A superb, well-inked impression in excellent condition.

Sheet size: 13 x 17.25 inches (33 x 43,8 cm)

This beautiful original etching was published in an edition of 310 as part of the renowned Vollard Suite. Ambroise Vollard was a respected Paris picture dealer and publisher of limited-edition books, lithographs & etchings; his gallery became the center for leading art figures in Paris and helped stimulate a new movement in art. In 1901, Vollard's gallery hosted Pablo Picasso's first Paris exhibition. Vollard began to purchase Picasso's etching plates beginning in 1913. In 1937, Pablo Picasso gave Vollard ninety-seven copper plates of his work dating from 1930 to 1936, which were subsequently printed and published as the Vollard Suite.

The theme of the Minotaur is a thread that is woven through the fabric of Picasso’s oeuvre. A brutish and bold masculine figure, it is in no particular chronological order that the Minotaur acts out scenes from Picasso’s life; he is seen to create prints and to paint, he makes love to Dora Maar, he is challenged by women, and at times, brutalizes the objects of his affections. In several dream-like tableaus, we see that he experiences tender moments with his pregnant mistress and muse, Marie-Thérèse, who was only 17 when they met. Marie-Thérèse figures largely in the Vollard Suite, which some have said serves as a visual diary of their love affair. In these scenes we typically see Marie-Thérèse in the nude, in repose, the subject of the Minotaur’s gaze. However, it is through the safety of his relationship with Marie-Thérèse that Picasso allowed the Minotaur to encounter the artist’s darkest fear, the fear of blindness. In Blind minotaur led by a little girl in the night, for the first time we see the Minotaur as powerless. We see an allegory to purity and a testimony of love as Marie-Thérèse leads the beast through the dark, his trust in her completely. What sets Blind minotaur led by a little girl in the night aside from other prints in the Vollard suite, and from the Picasso’s Minotauraqia in general, is that we see a rare and gentle moment at the soul of an Id driven creature, and an indication that his relationship with Marie-Thérèse would define his career.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), one of the most prominent, innovative artists of the last century, is celebrated for his lengthy and prolific career working in several modernist idioms and diverse media. He was an early proponent and collaborator of the Cubists. When the first African artworks were exhibited in Paris, Picasso along with other modernists, found inspiration in the elegant simplification of the African aesthetic which they incorporated into their work. Held in the highest regard during his lifetime, retrospectives of the artist’s work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Musée Picasso in Paris, the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, the National Gallery in London, and the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, among numerous other institutions. Picasso is renowned today as one of the pioneering and most influential forces of 20th-century modernism.
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