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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Femme Torero (or Dernier Baiser)
1934, etching printed on vergé de Montval paper, 49.6 x 69.2 cm
Bought from the Gow Fund with contributions from The Art Fund and the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund 2006 (P.17-2006).

La Grande Corrida avec Femme Torero
1934, etching printed on vélin de Rives paper, 49 x 64 cm
Bought from the Gow Fund with contributions from The Art Fund and the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund 2006 (P.16-2006).

The bullfighter/minotaur theme was dominant in much of Picasso’s work of the mid 1930s. It provided one of his richest veins of subject matter and proved a potent vehicle for the expression of psychological and emotional content. Of the group of prints on the theme of bull/minotaur from this period, Femme Torero and La Grande Corrida, avec Femme Torero are the only examples on the same grand scale as Picasso’s masterpiece in printmaking, the Minotauromachie, which is the highlight of the Fitzwilliam’s collection of the artist’s prints. The treatment and draughtsmanship differs between Femme Torero and La Grande Corrida, reflecting different sides of Picasso’s approach and style: grace and fluency on the one hand, power and expression on the other. Femme Torero was made in Paris before the artist’s trip to Spain that summer with his wife Olga and their son Paul, while La Grande Corrida was made after the artist’s return to Boisgeloup in Normandy. The treatment of themes can be interpreted in terms of Picasso’s deteriorating relationship with Olga and his reaction to her jealousy of his passion for Marie Thérèse Walter, who features in both prints.

The two plates were not printed until April 1939, shortly before the death of Ambroise Vollard who would otherwise have published them. This impression of Femme Torero is from the edition printed in 1939, which remained unissued during Picasso’s lifetime. The impression of La Grande Corrida avec Femme Torero is one of three known trial proofs on Rives paper used by Lacourière around the time (or just before) he printed the edition on Montval paper in 1939.

Literature: Bernhard Geiser and Brigitte Baer, Picasso Peintre-Graveur, Tome II, Berne 1992 and Brigitte Baer, Addendum..., 1996, nos. 425 C and 433 A.d.

Acquisition date: 2006