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Picasso Museum in Barcelona Opens Exhibition of Pablo Picasso as Lithographer
A woman looks at a lithograph (ca. 1945-1956) by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, on display at Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Spain, 03 May 2011. The artwork is one of 30 lithographs presented at the museum in an exhibition, entitled Picasso, Lithographs. EPA/MARTA PEREZ.

BARCELONA.- Shown in the Engraving Exhibition Rooms of the museum is a selection of lithographs by Picasso developed between 1945 and 1956, when the artist really developed his interest in this printmaking technique.

As he usually did when exploring a technique, he used several kinds of plates - stone, zinc, transfer paper - and tried a variety of traditional media - grease pencil, pen, wash -as well as introducing new materials and radically transforming the old established practices of the craft.

One of the characteristics of Picasso's lithographic work is that he tended to subject a given subject to numerous interpretations and variations. Some of his lithographs were taken through eighteen states; in other words, the image represented underwent eighteen mutations.

The Picasso Museum has an extensive collection of Picasso's lithographs. This exhibition shows 40 prints distributed in three different areas: in the first area we find different examples of the techniques used by the artist. In the second, a selection of lithographs he produced to be used for peace movements, along with is joie de vivre representations. In the last room we can see how Françoise Gilot, his companion during those years, and their children Claude and Paloma, became his favorite models in the time.

A planar printing technique invented in 1796, lithography is based on the mutual repulsion of water and oil. The initial design is drawn on a special stone - calcareous, porous, fine-grained and smooth - with a wax crayon, greasy chalk or ink. An acidic solution is then applied to the entire surface. This solution is rejected by the water-repellent drawing of the image and makes the blank areas permeable to water. The plate is then inked with grease-based inks, and the water-soaked blank areas repel this greasy ink, while the areas previously drawn accept it. A sheet of paper is placed on the stone and even pressure is applied by the press. Plates of fine-grained aluminium or zinc may be used instead of stone.

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