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Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso


- Peintre et modèle aux cheveux longs I (painter and Model with long hair I)

- Le Sculptuer I (The Sculptor I)

Pierre Reverdy

Pierre Reverdy, was a poet and a close friend of Pablo Picasso…

Sable mouvant (Quicksand) was Pierre Revedry’s last poem. Rene Char had asked him to write the verses for a collection of works by twelve poets to be illustrated by Jacques Villon, but the projected volume never appeared. Reverdy died on June 17, 1960 at Solesmes, the famous abbey to which he had retired in 1926. His death went almost unnoticed; in fact only three friends – Braque, Picasso, and Teriade – had been informed of it. As a tribute to the incorruptible friend who had so clearly seen the pitfalls of Picasso’s genius, and the price he would pay for his fame Picasso agreed to illustrate a posthumous edition of Sable mouvant.

Ten aquatints (definition below) were selected from the great series of prints on the theme of the artist and model that Picasso had explored indefatigably during the winter of 1963-1964, and in February and March of 1965. at the time he lived in Mougins France, near Cannes, a place surrounded by a Forest and full of Cypress trees. This environment brought Picasso never ending inspiration. He lived in Mougins from 1961 until his death in 1973.

I am Wabbit
Peintre et modèle aux cheveux longs I,
(painter and Model with long hair I)

The effect of the aquatints chosen for the book builds as one proceeds from one to the other, so that their final impact is fully as powerful as that of the text. In fact, the images attest to the essential difficulty of seeing and of knowing because, the one who sees is seen in return. Reverdy’s verses sum up a poet’s life, a life which must end as all lives end: “Je suis sorti du port/ Par un etroit passage/ Et je rentre a la mort demuni de bagage” (“ I left the port/ through a narrow passage/ And at death I return stripped of my belongings”.) Reverdy evokes the necessary perils of the frenzies of passion and the concluding void: he acknowledges his helplessness in the face of death, and accepts it like an engulfing wave or a strong gust of wind.

They were created in and edition 255 plus a very limited number of hors commerce (not for sale) editions signed by Picasso. The works being offered are among the very rare Hors Commercie editions (marked H.C.) that are signed by Picasso.

Le Sculptuer I

The Aquatint Process

An aquatint begins with a copper or zinc plate. The artist applies a ground by either dissolving powdered resin in spirits or applying the powder directly to the surface of the plate.

The plate is then heated; if the plate is covered with powder, the resin melts forming a fine and even coat; if it is in spirits, the spirits evaporate and the result is essentially the same. Now the plate is dipped in acid, producing an even and fine level of corrosion (the "bite") sufficient to hold ink. At this point, the plate is said to carry about a 50% halftone. This means that, were the plate printed with no further biting, the paper would display a gray color more or less directly in between white (no ink) and black (full ink).

Pablo Picasso in his workshop
Picasso in his workshop from the collection of the Art Appreciation Fundation

At some point the artist will then etch an outline of any aspects of the drawing he wishes to establish with line; this provides the basis and guide for his later tone work. He may also have applied (at the very start, before any biting occurs) an acid-resistant "stop out" (also called an asphaltum or hard ground) if he intends to keep any areas totally white and free of ink, such as highlights.

The artist then begins immersing the plate in the acid bath, progressively stopping out (protecting from acid) any areas that have achieved the designed tonality. These tones, combined with the limited line elements, give aquatints a distinctive, watery look. Also, aquatints, like mezzotints, provide ease in creating large areas of tone without laborious cross -hatching; but aquatint plates, it is noted, are generally more durable than mezzotint plates.