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Blanton Museum of Art Presents Picasso: A Graphic Inquiry

AUSTIN, TX.- The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin presents Picasso: A Graphic Inquiry through August 1, 2010. The exhibition highlights seventeen significant graphic works, including the lithographic Head of a Woman (1925), four works from the acclaimed Suite Vollard (1930-1937), including the Blind Minotaur Guided by a Young Girl in the Night and Bust in Profile (1957), one of many images he created of his young wife Jacqueline Roque. Jonathan Bober, Blanton curator of European Art states, “The Blanton’s holdings of Picasso’s prints represent the artist’s tremendous range, and a number of works––like the Tête de femme of 1925, The Blind Minotaur, and the Buste de profil––are among his most important.” Many of the works were acquired by the museum as part of the Leo Steinberg collection, considered to be one of the most important and prolific print collections in the country.

Pablo Picasso’s involvement with printmaking was a passionate and lifelong creative endeavor. His prolific output of prints underscored his development as an artist and revealed his seemingly limitless capacity for reinvention. This exhibition of Blanton’s holdings highlights Picasso’s uncanny ability to explore and experiment with the medium’s variety of techniques.

Born in Málaga on the Mediterranean coast of Spain in 1881, Pablo Picasso spent his formative years in small Spanish towns studying art with his father, a painter and instructor, and attending local art schools. As a young man in Paris, he was introduced to the avant-garde movement and its advocates Guillaume Apollinaire, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Jean Cocteau, American collector Gertrude Stein, and Ambroise Vollard, his principle art dealer. Exceptionally prolific in a variety of mediums throughout his career, Picasso’s artistic ingenuity flowed from one innovative idea to the next, inspiring generations of artists before his death in 1973 at age 91.

While many of his contemporaries explored printmaking, they did so for only a short time. Picasso’s involvement with the medium spanned his entire career, resulting in a massive graphic oeuvre. The artist utilized this medium for thematic development, focusing on a single subject for several plates and returning to the idea repeatedly.

Picasso’s generative career demanded the attention of critics and scholars from early on and his appeal continues today. Several of the works displayed were once in the collection of Leo Steinberg, whose essays, written during the 1960’s, are still revered today as an authority on the twentieth century master.

The Blanton's Collection of Prints and Drawings

The Blanton’s 15,000 prints and drawings form the only encyclopedic collection in Texas and one of the finest on an American campus. These prints reflect the history, characteristics, and processes of the medium from the Renaissance to the present day. More generally, with numerous examples of major masters from Dürer and Rembrandt through Goya and Picasso, and large groups of reproductive prints, the collection represents Western art in considerable detail and at a high level of aesthetic quality. In addition to American and Latin American prints, the collection includes 8,500 European prints, which are distinguished in the following areas: Marcantonio Raimondi and his school; the Little Masters of 16th-century Nuremburg; the Dutch Mannerists; 17th-century Italian etchers; 17th and 18th-century French printmaking; late 18th and early 19th-century British printmaking; Romantic lithography; the Etching Revival in Britain and France; modern wood engraving; and the Swiss Concrete movement.

The museum’s 1,500 drawings include examples from most periods and cultures, ranging from Raphael and Guercino to J.M.W. Turner and Richard Serra. The Blanton’s holdings are distinguished in the following areas: Italian Renaissance drawings, which include works by Raphael, Correggio, and Luca Cambiaso; Baroque drawings (Italian, French, and Central European), which constitute one of the finest and most extensive collections in this country; Contemporary Latin American drawing, which include works by Luis Benedit and Juan Calzadilla.

The Blanton’s prints and drawings collection, while possessing a solid reputation as broad, deep, and of high quality, was greatly enhanced with the major acquisitions of the Suida-Manning and Leo Steinberg Collections. In 1998, in addition to paintings, the Suida-Manning Collection brought some 400 Renaissance and Baroque drawings by many important painters and draftsmen to the Blanton’s collection. With this acquisition, the Blanton’s holdings of Old Master drawings became one of the finest in the nation, with renowned groups of Italian, French, and German Baroque works. In 2002, noted art historian and critic Leo Steinberg gave his collection of more than 3,200 prints to the Blanton. This encyclopedic collection was among the finest in private hands in the United States and is recognized by scholars for its extraordinary quality, range, and depth, and for its representation of rare and unique works. It includes prints from the 15th through the 20th centuries, including masterpieces by Marcantonio Raimondi, Dürer, Parmigianino, Cornelis Cort, Hendrick Goltzius, Claude Lorrain, Rembrandt, and Francesco Piranesi, as well as William Blake, Matisse, Picasso, George Grosz, Jasper Johns, and many others.

The Blanton Museum of Art | "Picasso: A Graphic Inquiry" | Leo Steinberg Collection |

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