In this short film we introduce one of the most interesting Picasso suite of prints we have ever had the pleasure of stocking at the Goldmark Gallery: the Portraits Imaginaires.
In case you haven’t seen it, we wrote a more in depth essay on the work over here, but here’s a little summary of how the series came into existence.
Produced in 1969, these lithographs are from Picasso’s Portraits Imaginaires suite. At 87 years old Picasso had become a living legend, with tourists flocking to see the master at work in his villa in Mougins, in the south of France.
His final years were also extremely prolific, and he seemed to be painting on any material and surface he could get his hands on. Early that year, a delivery of art supplies arrived at Picasso’s studio wrapped up in thick paper and boxed in corrugated cardboard. Rather than throw away the packaging, he immediately began to use them as canvases, slathering paint directly onto paper and cardboard and creating these amazing portraits of moustachioed musketeers, abstract female faces, and historical figures like Balzac, Shakespeare, and Rembrandt.
Picasso was so pleased with the results that he sought out a printmaker to reproduce the series and came upon Marcel Salinas. Salinas was a Parisian printmaker who had abandoned a career in law to become an artist and later a renowned printmaker and publisher. He would reproduce Picasso’s paintings by hand on lithographic blocks, Picasso occasionally making corrections, before they were printed in two editions of 250 prints.
In a way, these portraits are the perfect Picasso print: they show the evolution of the artist’s career from a young portraitist and founder of Cubism to the highly innovative paintings of his later years.
A fantastic suite of prints, from perhaps the greatest artist of the 20th century.