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Western art

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Still life, fruit dish



Pablo Picasso

Spain, France

25 Oct 1881 - 08 Apr 1973


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.


Other Titles

Still life with fruit dish

Nature morte au compotier

Alternative title

Nature morte, compotier



Media category


Materials used



iii of 3 states. From an edition of 100


13.0 x 11.0 cm image; 38.0 x 30.3 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed l.r. sheet, pencil "Picasso". Not dated.


Purchased 1986


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Pablo Picasso

Works in the collection


Shown in 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 7 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Sydney, 1986. 197

Stephen Coppel, Picasso and Printmaking in Paris, 'Cubist etchings', London, 1998, 13-14.

Renée Free, Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1994. no catalogue numbers

Renée Free, AGNSW Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 144 (colour illus.).

Bernhard Geiser and Brigitte Baer, Picasso peintre-graveur. Tome I. Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre gravé et lithographié et des monotypes 1899-1931, 1990, pp 55–56, no 22, illus p 56.

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.).