Almine Rech inaugurates new exhibition in Gstaad with 'Picasso: Unique etchings from the Crommelynck studio'
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Almine Rech inaugurates new exhibition in Gstaad with 'Picasso: Unique etchings from the Crommelynck studio'
Pablo Picasso, Peintre et modèle, écuyère et «bonhomme», April 13, 1968. Press proof. Aquatint and etching on copper, 50.5 x 61.5 cm - 19 7/8 x 24 1/4 in (unframed), 53.6 x 64.6 x 4 cm - 21 1/8 x 25 3/8 x 1 5/8 in (framed). © Courtesy of Almine Rech. © Succession Picasso 2023.

GSTAAD.- For its inaugural exhibition in Gstaad yesterday, Almine Rech presented the survey ‘Picasso: Unique etchings from the Crommelynck studio’. Featuring a selection of engravings by Pablo Picasso produced during his collaboration with the renowned printers Crommelynck, this survey offers a unique insight into Picasso’s mastery of the printmaking medium.

“Picasso began making engravings in 1899 when he was 18 years old. Between 1960 and 1971, the artist continued to produce engravings using copper plates. This method was used to make four test prints before acierage, a form of steel-coating. The Bon à Tirer is the test print chosen by the artist from the four; it is the single, valid print on which the entire numbered printing is based, which took place after acierage. Acierage gives the copper plate the hardness of steel, which allows for 50 to 250 printings. This could not be done with an untreated copper plate, because copper is a soft metal that would have been crushed as more prints were made, warping the artist’s incisions. The close personal relationship between the printers and the artist was such that Picasso, delighted with a successful test print, would write “Bon à Tirer” in magnificent handwriting that made the BAT, which is already unique, even more astonishing.

Picasso met the Crommelynck brothers when they were training at the Lacourière workshop from 1947 to 1956, establishing a close relationship with them. Aldo and Piero Crommelynck opened their first workshop in Paris in 1956 and a second in Mougins in 1963, so that they could con- tinue working with Picasso. They became his exclusive printers until his death in 1973.”— François Bellet, conservator at the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz Picasso, Roquebrune, September 2023

Pablo Picasso (b. 1881, Málaga, Spain; d. 1973, Mougins, France), the son of an academic painter, José Ruiz Blasco, began to draw and paint from an early age. Picasso studied first at the Fine Arts School in La Coruña and practised illustration and drawing caricatures at home. While studying at La Lonja Art Academy in Barcelona where his father had been appointed professor, he frequented the café Els Quatre Gats, the gathering place for a group of artists, musicians, and others who were crucial to his early artistic development.

In summer 1901, Picasso held his first Paris exhibition at the Galeries Vollard. In 1904 he moved to Paris, settling in the Bateau-Lavoir studio in Montmartre. His circle of friends soon included Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, and Gertrude and Leo Stein, as well as two dealers, Ambroise Vollard and Berthe Weill. Picasso’s style developed from the Blue Period (1901–04) to the Rose Period (1905), leading him to the pivotal work Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907). The years 1906–07 marked his discovery of Iberian and African art. In the years from 1908 to World War I he experimented with Cubism, with the subsequent evolution from an Analytic phase (c. 1908–11) to a Synthetic phase (beginning in 1912–13). In 1910, Picasso designated Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler as his official art dealer. In February 1917, the artist traveled to Rome with Jean Cocteau to work on the ballet Parade. There, he met his future wife Olga Khokhlova. Soon after, his paintings and drawings came to be characterized by large, neoclassical compositions featuring nudes and figural representations. In 1930, Picasso bought the Château de Boisgeloup near Gisors, where he set up a sculpture studio and further developed his sculptural work. In 1932, Christian Zervos published the first volume of the catalogue raisonné on Picasso’s work (1895–1906).

In 1935, the artist started to associate with the Surrealist group, which met at André Breton’s place in Paris. The Spanish Civil War profoundly affected Picas- so, inspiring his large-scale painting Guernica (1937). From the late 1940s Picasso lived in the south of France. After Olga’s death in 1955, he acquired the Villa la Californie, located above Cannes. In 1961, he married his second wife Jacqueline Roque, subsequently moving to Notre-Dame-de-Vie in Mougins. In the 1960s, he produced several paintings inspired by masters such as Monet and Rembrandt, as w ell as on the theme of painter and model. The year 1969 was an intense period of painting; subjects included portraits, couples, nudes, men with swords, smokers, and still lifes. Among the huge number of exhibi- tions that were held during the artist’s lifetime, those at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1939; at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, in 1955; at the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, Paris, in 1966; and at the Palais des Papes in Avignon, in 1970 were among the most significant. Picasso is buried at Château de Vauvenargues – a 14th-century castle located near Aix-en-Provence he had acquired in 1958 – at the foot of Mount Saint-Victoire, an iconic subject in a number of Cézanne paintings.

Almine Rech
Pablo Picasso: ‘Picasso: Unique etchings from the Crommelynck studio’
December 21st, 2023 - February 3rd, 2024

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