Pablo Picasso (d'apres) "Portraits Imaginaires: Mousquetaire" 1969, Lithograph Original
Size US: 30 x 22 in
Size Europe: 76 x 56 cm
Ed.250Produced in 1969, this lithograph is from Picasso's Portraits Imaginaires suite. At 87 years old Picasso had become a living legend, with tourists flocking to see the master at work in his villa in Mougins, in the south of France.
His final years were also extremely prolific, and he seemed to be painting on any material and surface he could get his hands on. Early that year, a delivery of art supplies arrived at Picasso's studio wrapped up in thick paper and boxed in corrugated cardboard. Rather than throw away the packaging, he immediately began to use them as canvases, slathering paint directly onto paper and cardboard and creating these amazing portraits of moustachioed musketeers, abstract female faces, and historical figures like Balzac, Shakespeare, and Rembrandt.
Picasso was so pleased with the results that he sought out a printmaker to reproduce the series and came upon Marcel Salinas. Salinas was a Parisian printmaker who had abandoned a career in law to become an artist and later a renowned printmaker and publisher. He would reproduce Picasso's paintings by hand on lithographic blocks, Picasso occasionally making corrections, before they were printed in two editions of 250 prints.
In a way, these portraits are the perfect Picasso print: they show the evolution of the artist's career from a young portraitist and founder of Cubism to the highly innovative paintings of his later years.
Pablo Picasso was a prolific printmaker, producing over 2,400 original prints throughout his career in a variety of techniques. But until 1945, almost all of his prints were black and white, and only a handful of them were lithographs, a printmaking method that closely resembles painting, enabling artists to draw directly on a stone slab or metal plate. This ratio drastically changed when Picasso met the master printmaker Fernand Mourlot. In just under two decades, Picasso and Mourlot produced over 350 lithographs (many of them in color), experimenting with unconventional techniques like finger painting that pushed the boundaries of the medium.