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DAVID ET BETHSABÉE (after Lucas Cranach)

Pablo Picasso
DAVID ET BETHSABÉE (after Lucas Cranach)
May 29, 1949

An original hand-signed Pablo Picasso lithograph print.

May 29, 1949

Original lithograph printed in black ink on wove paper bearing the Arches block letter watermark. 

Hand-signed in multi-colored pencil in the margin lower right Picasso, dated on the stone “7.4.49” (in reverse) and “25.5.49” lower left. 

A superb impression of Mourlot, Reusse and the Picasso Project’s definitive state of this subject, printed after the composition was transferred to a lithographic stone from the zinc plate on which it was originally drawn on March 30, 1948.  From the edition of 50, numbered in pencil in the margin lower right (there were 6 additional impressions reserved for the artist and the printer).

Catalog: Bloch 442; Mourlot 109 (a); Reusse 214; Güse/Rau 194; Picasso Project 109.10bis.

25 x 19 inches

Sheet Size: 30 1/8 x 22 inches

This composition is based on the 1562 Lucas Cranach painting of the same title from the collection of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.  

One evening King David saw from the roof of his palace a young woman bathing.  This was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.  David had her brought to the palace and made love to her.  She became pregnant.  Later David wrote to Uriah’s army commander ordering him to put Uriah at the front of the hottest battle so that he would die.  This came to pass, and Daivid married Bathsheba.  In this lithograph Bathsheba is seen bathing, assisted by her attendants, while being watched from the battlements of his castle by King David.

According to Picasso’s lithographer Fernand Mourlot
At Picasso’s request a transfer to stone was made of the sixth state of the zinc.  Lithographic stone is much more pleasant to work and especially to scrape than zinc.  Taken to the artist’s studio in the Rue des Grands Augustins, in November 1948, it was placed on a large cast-iron cooking pot, but Picasso seldom went near it.  “It frightens me.  I dare not touch it,” he told me when I inquired about it.  However, the stone was attacked once more, worked on and scraped; one day some te-touching with a pen, the next day a long session of scraping, then a re-working of the blacks, etc.  Picasso would no doubt still be working on it if, having to leave for the South of France at the beginning of June 1949, he had not asked that the stone be removed and a proof pulled.  At present the stone is at the printing works . . .

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