From a set of five progressive working proofs for Le Banderillo. rectangular field of tan on white sheet; irregular edges simulating paper with tacks

© Estate of Pablo Picasso %2F Artists Rights Society %28ARS%29%2C New York

Le Banderillero (pre-first state), 1959

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This series of proofs reveals Picasso’s working method as he collaborated with master printer Hidalgo Arnéra using the reduction linoleum cut method—a process that seems to have materialized from their partnership. Reduction linocuts involve using a single block to print layers of ink and cutting the block between successive printings. Mia acquired a series of five proofs from Arnéra’s archive. They first engaged with the technique in the summer of 1959, and Picasso became fascinated by its possibilities. After making several small linocuts from this method, he made one larger one, and then threw himself into this large, energetic image of a "banderillo" confronting a powerful bull. A "banderillo" is a bullfighter whose role is to thrust darts ("banderillas") into the bull’s shoulders to anger and weaken the animal before the matador finishes it off. Picasso shows an arena filled with spectators where the lithe "banderillo" is doing his job. Behind him, to our left, the matador waves his cape. The bull lunges forward, head lowered with his horns nearly striking the "banderillo," just as the darts strike their target. Abstract lines suggest the many vectors of force and motion in the brutal, balletic scene. This print is the pre-first state of the first block. The process begins with inking the linoleum block with one nearly solid color, here a caramel-tan, and printing it onto a sheet of paper. This was always intended as a trial proof; so, it is printed on a thin sheet of buff-colored paper. The marks around the edges tell us that the linoleum block was nailed to a backing board.

Details
Title
Le Banderillero (pre-first state)
Artist Life
(active France), 1881–1973
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2018.36.1
Provenance
Hidalgo Arnéra, the printer (1922-2007, Vallauris, France); his estate; (Frederick Mulder, Ltd, London)
Curator Approved

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From a set of five progressive working proofs for Le Banderillo. rectangular field of tan on white sheet; irregular edges simulating paper with tacks

© Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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