Figure Composée I

Pablo Picasso
Figure Composée I
lithograph
March 8, 1949

An original hand-signed Pablo Picasso lithograph print.

March 8, 1949

Original lithograph printed in black ink on wove paper bearing the “Arches” script watermark

Hand-signed in black crayon lower right Picasso, dated on the stone upper left “8.3.49”.

A superb impression of Mourlot’s only state, from the edition of 50, numbered in pencil lower left (there were six additional proofs reserved for the artist and printer, for an overall edition of 56).  Published by Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris,  printed at Atelier Fernand Mourlot, Paris. 

Catalog: Bloch 596; Mourlot 165; Gauss/Reusse 480; Güse/Rau 446; Picasso Project 165.

Sheet Size: 25 x 19 inches

The importance to Picasso of lithography as a medium is demonstrated by the fact that only a month after the end of World War II in 1945 he was in Paris starting to work at the lithography workshop of Fernand Mourlot.  Over the following three years he spent much of his time at the Mourlot atelier where he created some of his most inspired prints.  In late 1948 and early 1949, after a period at Vallauris, Picasso was again back at Mourlot’s studio.  During this period he was working on a series of studies of women’s heads, inspired by his love affair with Françoise Gilot.  These encompass the artist’s greatest achievements in the medium of lithography.  The portraits of Françoise from this period are marked by the extraordinary invention which Picasso incorporated into his exploration of the medium.  Many of the techniques that he employed were of his own creation and flouted all technical conventions as can be seen in “Figure Composée I.”

In the words of the lithographer Fernand Mourlot:
On his return to Paris Picasso plunged into work.  During his 8 month stay in Paris he did little painting, but he made numerous compositions on lithographic paper and on zinc.  Every day around 12 o’clock new plates had to be collected, proofs from the previous evening had to be brought and zincs prepared for further alterations . . . and Picasso continued working on his lithographs without respite and with no regard at all for the traditional rules.  From time to time he would visit his friends at Rue de Chabrol and thank Raymond Tutin, the pressman who worked for him and who often cursed his lithographic oddities.

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