Marlborough Fine Art is delighted to be exhibiting a large selection of particularly rare etchings on parchment from the Vollard Suite, as well as some beautiful impressions from the larger format paper edition. The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to view these special and exceptionally fine impressions.
During his lifetime Picasso created approximately 2000 prints in a variety of media ranging from etching, drypoint, lithograph, to linocut. For the first 40years of his artistic career Picasso concentrated almost exclusively on intaglio processes. The 100 remarkable etchings that make up the Vollard Suite are generally regarded as the finest of his achievements in printmaking.
The Vollard Suite, created between 1930-37, was named after it publisher, the French art dealer and critic, Ambroise Vollard. Picasso and Vollard shared a close working relationship up until 1910; however, after this date Vollard was no longer Picasso’s dealer though the two continued to collaborate on publishing projects. In 1930 Vollard, encouraged by the success of two earlier ventures, ambitiously commissioned 100 plates from Picasso and by 1937 the plates were completed and given to master printer Roger Lacouriere to print. The entire edition comprises 3 copies on parchment, 50 copies on larger format Montval paper (50 x 38 cm) and 250 on smaller format Montval paper 44.5 x 34.0). Tragically, Ambroise Vollard died in a car crash 22 July 1939 leaving the project temporarily suspended, until, a greater part of the edition was purchased by the print dealer Henri Petiet. After World War II Petiet engaged Picasso to sign a certain number of sets, and this continued up until 1969 but ceased with the publication of the 347 Series. Hence, a number of the prints from the edition of 250 remain unsigned.
The Suite itself comprises 73 sheets on five main themes; The Battle of Love, The Sculptors Studio, Rembrandt, The Minotaur and the Blind Minotaur. There are a further 27 sheets on disparate themes including 3 portraits of Ambroise Vollard. Despite superficial differences, an underlying unity of tone and Picasso’s preoccupation with neo-classical and classical subjects lends homogeneity and consistency to the series that is clearly evident when viewed in its’ entirety.
The 32 prints presented in this exhibition are either from the exceptional and particularly rare edition of 3 printed on parchment and signed in red ink, or from the edition of 50, on larger format paper and signed in pencil. The sheer inventiveness and fluidity of line and the technical brilliance is apparent in every sheet. The selection here is a testimony to the unique quality and beauty of the Vollard Suite.
For further information or images please contact Frankie Rossi, Tamara Dial or Anthony Hartley at Marlborough Graphics on 0207 629 5161 or by email on