From a set of five progressive working proofs for Le Banderillo. maroon image on tan background with simplified, blocky figures; stylized bull at R charging; matador figure at L driving swords into bull's back; figure at L with cape; 7 rounded objects in form UR

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

Le Banderillero (second 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 second state of the first block. Picasso cut away more of the block, adding many more lines of force, more spectators, and more decoration to the clothing of the banderillo and the matador. He also began to use some sort of scraper to roughen the surface of the linoleum, thus softening some of the lines and adding texture to areas such as the bull’s silhouette. Again, this was printed in chocolate-colored ink onto one of the caramel rectangles, again using the thin proofing paper.

Details
Title
Le Banderillero (second state)
Artist Life
(active France), 1881–1973
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2018.36.3
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. maroon image on tan background with simplified, blocky figures; stylized bull at R charging; matador figure at L driving swords into bull's back; figure at L with cape; 7 rounded objects in form UR

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

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