One of Picasso’s rarest prints, the entire series of 66 etchings for La Célestine on a single large sheet. One of only nine impressions.
Etching and sugar-lift aquatint, printed by Editions Crommelynck on yellow tinted Rives paper. In excellent condition with deckle edge on four sides.
Sheet size: 75 x 105 (cm); 29 ½ x 41 ¼ (inches)
This impression is signed Picasso and dated Le 9.9.70 in red crayon, numbered 4/9.
[Provenance: Given by Picasso to Paul Puaux – Director of the Festival d’Avignon from 1971-79].
The sixty-six etchings illustrate the tragi-comedy La Celestina by Fernando Rojas, a masterpiece of Spanish literature. It tells the amusing story of how the bachelor Calisto used the procuress Celestina to arrange an affair with Melibea, a young woman kept in seclusion by her parents.
…during the printing of these etchings for the book, Picasso had the idea of making an impression of all the 66 plates on one sheet.
Pablo Picasso: The Illustrated Books
Printing only nine impressions of this work makes it a unique experiment in printmaking combining Picasso’s mastery, Rojas’ humour and the technical skill of the master printers, Aldo and Piero Crommelynck.
Brigitte Baer states that each of the 9 prints are dated 9.9.70. She cites the following impressions:
1 dedicated to Zette and Michel Leiris
1 dedicated to Jacqueline
3 in the artist’s collection of which 1 is in the Picasso Museum (1/9)
2 given to Aldo and Piero Crommelynck
The remaining impressions were kept by the artist as gifts.
The impressions of the plates that form the group of works for the Célestine present themselves as a sort of puzzle. They fit together, side by side, forming a rectangular composition. They are not in chronological order or in the order included in the book but an order that creates an impression of a tour de force.
La Célestine: Baer 1523-1779; Cramer 149; Bloch 1507; 1529; 1540; 1541; 1558; 1559; 1563; 1564; 1573-1576; 1581-1583; 1587,1588,1592,1593,1596-1603, 1605-1607, 1616, 1617, 1635-1637, 1648-1650, 1654, 1655, 1657, 1658, 1661, 1664, 1665, 1668, -1670,1690, 1691, 1694, 1727, 1729, 1733, 1749, 1751, 1754, 1762
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