From a set of five progressive working proofs for Le Banderillero. maroon and black image against tan background; blocky, stylized figures; charging bull at R; matador figure driving two swords into bull's neck at L; dark figure at far L holding up an open cape; stylized background with possible audience members

%C2%A9 Estate of Pablo Picasso %2F Artists Rights Society %28ARS%29%2C New York

Le Banderillero (fourth state), 1959

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This unique set of proofs (2018.36.1-5) comes from the estate of Picasso’s collaborator, the printer Hidalgo Arnéra. The proofs offer a window into the workshop where these partners were in the heat of inventing the process of reduction block cutting—the use of a single linoleum block to print a multicolored image. We can see ideas develop and choices being made. Le Banderillero was not Picasso and Arnéra’s first experiment with reduction block cutting, but it was the first one in which Picasso unleashed his artistic energy to produce a large and vibrant image.

A banderillero is a bullfighter whose role is to thrust small spears (banderillas—“little flags”) into the bull’s shoulders to anger and weaken the animal before the matador finishes it off. Picasso shows an arena filled with spectators, the lithe banderillero going about his work. Behind him, to our left, the matador waves his cape. The bull lunges forward, head lowered, his horns nearly striking the banderillero as the spears strike their target. Abstract lines suggest force and motion in the brutal, balletic scene.
Given the importance of the artist, Mia has a weak collection of Picasso’s work. The addition of this set of proofs is a significant boost. Until now, we have had only one of his linocuts, which is fortuitously related to the present work in that it is another bullfighting subject produced in 1959 (2002.113). This set helps our visitors engage more fully with that example as together they more fully illustrate the reduction process.

From a set of five progressive working proofs for Le Banderillero. maroon and black image against tan background; blocky, stylized figures; charging bull at R; matador figure driving two swords into bull's neck at L; dark figure at far L holding up an open cape; stylized background with possible audience members

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

Because of © restrictions, we can only show you a small image of this artwork.