TÊTE DE FEMME NO. 6. PORTRAIT DE DORA MAAR

Pablo Picasso
TÊTE DE FEMME NO. 6. PORTRAIT DE DORA MAAR
aquatint
January & June, 1939

An original Pablo Picasso aquatint print.

January & June, 1939

Original aquatint printed in four colors (red-brown, green, blue, black) from four plates on Montval laid paper.

Bloch 1338; Baer 654.D.

A superb impression of the definitive state, Baer’s version “D” (of E), from the published edition of 106 printed after the steelfacing of the plates (none of the impressions from this edition was hand-signed).  Printed by Roger Lacouriére sometime between 1939 and 1942 (the plates were subsequently cancelled in 1979).

11 x 9 inches

Sheet Size: 17 x 13 3/8 inches

This is one of seven prints Picasso made in 1939 for a book project he conceived himself which was to combine color aquatints and a calligraphic text of his own authorship (see Baer 648, 650-655).  The project was never realized, probably because its unprecedented form and content intimidated publishers.  All that has survived are the impressions of the prints themselves, such as this one, whose complete editions Picasso kept, and which were discovered in his studio after his death.

In the early 20th century, Jacques Villon, Mary Cassat and a few other artists experimented with the color aquatint process with impressive effects.  But by the 1930’s, it had lost its status as an art medium and was used almost exclusively by printmakers for reproductions of paintings.  Picasso and the printer Roger Lacourière, however, collaborated to bring it to a technical level that would enable artists to create original  compositions in a straightforward manner.  Due to Lacourière’s ingenious combination of techniques, the 1939 color aquatint portraits of Dora Maar, as here, evoke the purity and transparency of watercolor.

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