(Spain, France 25 Oct 1881 – 08 Apr 1973)
13.0 x 11.0 cm image; 38.0 x 30.3 cm sheet
Drypoint, involving as it does the direct marking of the metal plate with an engraving tool, requires of the artist the utmost concentration and control; it is not a technique for the indecisive. Picasso was especially adept at this difficult medium. Some of his earliest prints are drypoints, or etchings with drypoint inclusions. This example of the former is from the high point of his early cubist phase, during which he and Braque had established the spatial fundamentals of the style. Like certain paintings of the same year, this still life takes its time-honoured genre into an entirely new category. The term 'analytical cubism' has been applied to the style, indicating the quasi-scientific arena of reality that Picasso and Braque were so keen to explore. Like an aftershock, a wave of energy rolls across the composition, dislodging every object from its axis. At the same time an extraordinary sense of order, which we may call cubist harmonics, stabilises the scene. In the draperies, bowls, and most of all the talismanic pears, Picasso pays obvious homage to his predecessor, Cezanne.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Sydney, 1986. cat.no. 197
Stephen Coppel, Picasso and Printmaking in Paris, 'Cubist etchings', London, 1998, 13-14.
Renée Free, The Art Gallery of New South Wales Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 144 (colour illus.).
Renée Free, Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1994. no catalogue numbers
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Works on Paper', pg. 78-92, Sydney, 1999, 86 (illus.).
Terence Maloon, Paths to abstraction 1867-1917, Sydney, 2010, 212 (illus.).
Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Sep 1986–23 Nov 1986
Picasso Before Nature, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, 22 Sep 1989–12 Nov 1989
Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Jul 1994–25 Sep 1994
Paths to abstraction 1867-1917, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Jun 2010–19 Sep 2010