Lithograph on wove paper by Montval with watermark 64.5 x 49.2 cm (66.7 x 51.4 cm), framed under glass. Unsigned copy aside from the edition of 50 numbered and signed prints. - Slightly browned, with few short tears to the edges.
Bloch 403; Mourlot 47
Sotheby's London, Old Master, 19th and 20th Century and Contemporary Prints, 2/3 Dec. 1993, lot 609; since then Westphalian private collection
cf. in general: Pablo Picasso. Die Lithographien, with a preface by Ernst-Gerhard Güse and a catalogue raisonné by Bernd Rau, Stuttgart 1988, no. 142 with illus.; Ulrike Gauss (ed.), Pablo Picasso. Die Lithographie. Graphikmuseum Pablo Picasso Münster. Die Sammlung Huizinga, Ostfildern-Ruit 2000, no. 154/47 with full-page illus. p. 71
Working with graphic techniques always fascinated Picasso. He was attracted to both the technical realisation as well as the possibilities of pictorial expression. Shortly after the Second World War, Picasso returned to the medium of lithography whilst working at Fernand Mourlot's studio in Paris. This is where he created over 350 lithographs until 1962, of which his en-face portraits of “Françoise” are particularly outstanding. The series shows that Picasso always had a tendency to vary a specific theme, exploring all its graphical options. Françoise Gilot and Picasso had met in May 1943. She was his lover for quite a while and later also his partner with whom he had two children, Paloma and Claude. Françoise Gilot, a beautiful and confident woman, had broken off her law degree course and escaped bourgeois society with the intention of becoming a painter herself. Her portrait can be found in numerous large format lithographs and, as in this case, as a purely linear drawing. What all these works have in common, apart from the subject's regular, oval head, is a small mole under her left eye and a slightly raised right eyebrow. The most delightful features of this version are the special brightness of Françoise's eyes and the many curls of her hair, almost floral-like in character, like some exotic leaf. Reminiscent also are the gouaches découpées by Henri Matisse, whom Picasso and Françoise had both visited in the spring of 1946. We are told that Picasso always painted such portraits from memory, when Françoise was absent, so that they also express his yearnings.