Françoise

Pablo Picasso
Françoise
lithograph
June 14, 1946

An original hand-signed Pablo Picasso lithograph .

June 14, 1946

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

Hand-signed in pencil lower right Picasso.

A superb impression of the only state, from the edition of 50, numbered in pencil lower left (there were 6 additional proofs reserved for the artist and the printer).

Catalog: Bloch 401; Mourlot 45; Reusse 152;  Güse/Rau 140; Picasso Project 45.

Image Size: 25 x 19 inches

Sheet Size: 25 ½ x 19 ½ inches

Picasso was involved in printmaking as early as 1904, although he did not make lithography the focus of his graphic work until the winter of 1945.  At this time he went to work alongside the master lithographers at the Atelier Mourlot. 

By 1945 every major printmaker in Paris was working with Mourlot and his printers.  In the case of Picasso, the team beside Fernand Mourlot consisted of three printers, Gaston Tutin and Jean Celestin (“Pere Tutin” and “Tintin”) the proofers, and Henri Deschamps the chromist who was in charge of the inks.  They worked with Picasso taking proofs from the stones and zinc plates.  When Picasso first began to work with Mourlot, all of the lithographs were drawn on the stone in the traditional manner.  By 1947, Picasso realized that he could avoid some of the studio’s restrictions by working on zinc plates which could be easily transported from his studio to the printers.

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.