Friday, April 19, 2013

Picasso’s Woman in an Armchair (Eva)

A masterwork by Pablo Picasso from the world-renowned Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection is currently on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The display of Picasso’s Woman in an Armchair (Eva) from 1913 gives a great opportunity to see one of the major pieces from the collection at the Met on view at the Museum’s Lila Acheson Wallace Wing for modern & contemporary art. Here's how MOMA elaborates on the monumental artist's philosophy and processes:

The greatest 20th century printmaker
Renowned for painting as well as sculpture, Picasso is arguably the greatest printmaker of the twentieth century. He created more than two thousand printed images, working primarily in intaglio techniques but also, for extended periods, in lithography and linoleum cut. It was usually the influence of a master craftsman in a collaborative workshop that served as the impetus for Picasso's printmaking, as new techniques fueled his imagination.
Picasso's early prints
They reflect his evolving artistic language and his place within the major modern movements. The Frugal Repast, of 1904...evokes a sense of mystery and nobility surrounding poverty, recalling the Symbolist aesthetic of Picasso's Blue and Rose periods. Two years later, a woodcut of his companion, Fernande Olivier, betrays the simplified forms he found in Iberian sculpture and a raw expressionism inspired by tribal art.
The Cubist idiom
Picasso's illustrations for ‘Saint Matorel’, with text by his friend Max Jacob, incorporate the Cubist idiom with which he is most closely associated. While this abstracted language of forms served him throughout his career, his work remained aligned with figurative imagery. In his great prints of the 1930s, created in collaboration with master printer Roger Lacourière, his allegorical inclinations are revealed, while these works also share Surrealist preoccupations with the unconscious.
Well into the later part of his career, Pablo Picasso was open to the intrinsic potential of a new painterly technique. The artist in the 1940s discovered lithography, at the Fernand Mourlot workshop in Paris. The series 'Woman in an Armchair' created there exists in thirty different experimental variations. He was stimulated by the varied possibilities (in the late 1950s and early 1960s) of linoleum cut under Hidalgo Arnéra's tutelage. The printer's shop was just near his art studio in southern France. A string of innovations continued, as evident in the one-block process that he devised for color printing process, noticed in the striking ‘Still Life with Glass under the Lamp’.

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