Picasso has been known for mastering different styles of prints, and using etchings and linocuts as much as lithographs. Picasso’s first works were mostly etchings, in which Picasso unleashed his creative potential. Amongst those early works made in Paris can one find the suite Vollard, in which Picasso bridged his own conception of art with that of neoclassism. The 100 works that make up the suite Vollard have been said to be a stunning excursus of cubism into classicism.
Picasso’s love for lithographs started in the early XIXth century when he walked in the Atelier Mourlot. He produced a few lithographs during the 1910s and 1920s, in a cubist style, but did not make lithography a central part of his print making process.
A considerable change came about after the Second World War. Rather then working again with Lacourière, Picasso came to the Mourlot Print Shop and asked them to create a whole new type of lithography which would take the print medium to a truly artistic dimension. At first reticent, the Mourlot studio finally recognized the value of Picasso’s daring proposition.
Picasso’s proposal revolved around blending different mediums to experiment with shapes and texture. What came out of this proposal was Picasso’s stunning work The Bull.
These series of 11 works highlitghted picasso’s play on abstraction, and highlight the process taken by Picasso to create many of his masterpieces. Lithography proved to be the perfect medium for Picasso as substracting and adding content was simpler than with other medium. This deconstruction of the outline of the bull proved to be one of the clearest accounts of Picasso’s artistic method.
During this time, Picasso produced more then 300 lithographs. The proximity of his Montparnasse studio in Paris to the Mourlot studio was of considerable importance in creating this strong relationship between the painter and the printer. Picasso used lithograph for experimentation as well as for reproducing his masterpieces, and numerous lithographic works by Picasso show how diverse his genius was.
Picasso also used lithograph for high quality illustration of literary works which were of appeal to him. One of which was for an illustration of the play Le Cocu Mangnifique by Fernand Crommelynck. Picasso’s illustration show an intricate design, as well as an exuberance which constrasts starkly with his previous prints.Although Crommelynck play was intended as a farce, Picasso’s illustration managed to play on the various emotions instilled by the erotic yet ridiculous play.