The Artist And Model

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Pablo Picasso

Spanish, 1881 - 1973

The Artist and Model, 1927

  • Not On View

Etching on paper

Dimensions: 13 7/8 × 19 in. (35.2 × 48.3 cm)
Image: 7 3/4 × 11 in. (19.7 × 27.9 cm)

Gift of Mr. George C. Willson, 1935.1

La Chef d'ouevre Inconnu (The Unknown Masterpiece), published in 1931, is the result of a collaboration between Picasso and Ambroise Vollard (1868-1939), who was one of the leading print publishers and dealers of the Parisian avant-garde. This illustration, from a set of twelve, is based upon the 1831 novel of the same name, by Honore de Balzac (1799-1850). Picasso does not literally illustrate the events that take place in the novel; rather, he interpreted the novel's deeper meaning, especially the various aspects of an artist's relationship with the model. In this particular illustration, we are brought into the artist's studio to witness the intimate interaction between the artist and his model, which Picasso deftly transcribes with exceptional economy and spontaneity.Picasso (1881-1973), born in Malaga, Spain, is undoubtedly the central figure that led the revolution in Western art away from the long-standing traditions of representation towards a totally new visual language of abstraction. During his lengthy artistic career, Picasso reinvented himself several times and, in so doing, produced an extraordinarily wide range of painting, sculpture, graphic art, and ceramics that changed the face of Western art more profoundly than any other artist of the 20th century.

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