Etching printed on Montval laid paper with Montgolfier watermark
From the Vollard Suite (S.V. 83), edition of 50
Signed by the artist in pencil, lower right
Inscribed "353" in pencil, lower left margin; "190, 353, 19702" in pencil, upper left verso; and other notations
Printed by Lacourière, 1939
Published by Vollard, 1939
Image: 7 5/8 x 10 1/2 inches
Sheet: 15 1/4 x 19 3/4 inches
(Bloch 190) (Baer 349.B.c)
In this image, Picasso politely introduces the Minotaur into the Suite Vollard and to his viewers. The irony and humor of this image provides a light counterpoint to the more intensely symbolic and emotive etchings of the Minotaur, which show him in a variety of scenarios. Taking the place of the distinguished bearded sculptor of prior etchings in the suite—lying in repose in the comfort of the lush studio—the beast looks over his shoulder and raises a glass of wine to the audience with a smile. Aside from his startling physiognomy, he is the picture of a perfect gentleman. The beautiful young model (who clearly resembles Picasso’s lover Marie-Thérèse Walter) looks at him gamely—she is clearly unfazed by this beast’s sudden appearance as her lover, as if nothing has changed. And why should it be otherwise? As she revealed later in life, Marie-Thérèse was entirely comfortable and familiar with the two sides of the artist, saying “I always cried with Pablo Picasso… [he was] wonderfully terrible”.i
The current impression is one of fifty deluxe impressions with large margins printed on Montval laid paper watermarked “Papeterie Montgolfier à Montval,” outside of the edition of 260 (there was also a small edition of three). It was printed by Roger Lacourière in late 1938 or early 1939. The untimely death of Ambroise Vollard in the summer of 1939 delayed their commerce until 1948 when the prints were acquired by dealer Henri Petiet through the Vollard estate.
i As quoted by Jill Berk Jimenez in The Dictionary of Artist’s Models, Routledge, 2001, 556.