Málaga 1881 - 1973 Mougins
La Tauromaquia, o arte de torear
Portfolio including 26 aquatint etchings on wove paper with watermark "GUARRO" and one watermark "bull" as well as one drypoint etching. Each 19.8 x 29.3 cm (35 x 49.6 cm). Signed in the edition annotation with printed proof number. Proof 77/250 (of a total of 263 proofs). Loose sheets. Together with text sheets on double sheets, texts by José Delgado alias Pepe Illo in a paper jacket imprinted with drypoint etching, in leather-covered original cover and leather and linen-covered original slipcase. Published for Ediciones La Cometa by Gustavo Gili, S.A., Barcelona 1959. - Cover and slipcase with minor traces of usage.
Baer 970-996 B.d; Bloch 950-976; Cramer Books 100
The publisher Gustavo Gili sen. had already commissioned Picasso to illustrate the “Tauromaquia” as early as 1928, in order to publish it in his series of bibliophile books known as “Ediciones de la Cometa”. The artist created a few initial etchings (see Geiser/Baer 136-141) that year and in the following year, and the French writer Henry de Montherlant wrote a foreword. The project then came to a standstill for various reasons.
It was not until 1956 that the publisher's son, Gustavo Gili jr., reminded Picasso of the publication. In the spring of 1957 the artist once again began to work on it. In 26 aquatints he processed the impressions that he had just recently gathered while visiting the Easter bull fights in Arles. These extraordinarily vivid depictions are applied directly to the copper plate with the brush and fully display Picasso's talent as a draughtsman. The black forms of the bullfighters' and animals' bodies are set against the white background in the manner of a silhouette image and evoke the blindingly bright scenery of a sunlit arena.
A text by the famous torero Pepe Illo (actually José Delgado, 1754-1801) accompanies the prints. His guidelines “Tauromaquia o arte torear á caballo y á pie” were published in 1796 and provided the first handbook for carrying out bullfights: the rules still in force today were developed on the basis of its standards. Francisco de Goya had also created a 33-part series of etchings on the “Tauromaquia” between 1814 and 1816; like Pablo Picasso's illustrations, Goya's series works intensively with effects of light and shadow.