NOTE! This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more detalis, see Read more


What are you looking for?

Barcelona’s Picasso Museum shows the artist’s lithographic work

A special exhibition is showing Pablo Picasso’s art with lithography, a printmaking technique he explored. Picasso made a total of 450 pieces using this craft, which he revolutionised. The museum in Barcelona already owns 300 of them.


09 May 2011 10:58 PM


ACN / Violeta Gumà

Barcelona (ACN) - A less well-known side of Pablo Picasso is that he was a lithographic artist. \u2018Picasso Lithographer\u2019 is the title of Barcelona\u2019s Picasso Museum exhibition, which can be viewed from early May to October 2nd. It is the most complete exhibition of Picasso\u2019s lithographic works. It is believed the Malaga-born artist created a total of 450 lithographs, 300 of which are owned by Barcelona\u2019s Picasso Museum. The temporary exhibition displays an accurate selection of 40 pieces, which shows the artist\u2019s experimentation with this printmaking craft. Actually, Picasso revolutionised the old ways of creating lithographs, regarding both the techniques used and the diversity of themes. The artist worked with this craft between 1945 and 1956, but it continues to be a less well-known side to him. \u2018Picasso Lithographer\u2019 is framed into the museum\u2019s aim of organising monographic exhibitions focusing on a particular dimension of the artist, such as arts and crafts he explored, themes portrayed in his works, periods of his life and links with other artists. These exhibitions are also an opportunity to display the museum\u2019s broad archive and provide a new side to Picasso\u2019s work.

The temporary exhibition is displayed in the Engraving Rooms of the Museum, beside the permanent collection. \u2018Picasso Lithographer\u2019 is organised around three different areas. Firstly, it shows Picasso\u2019s early lithographic work, when the artist settled in Fernand Mourlot\u2019s workshop, in Paris\u2019 Chabrol Street, in late 1945. This first part explains how Picasso explored several techniques and media when dealing with lithography. The second part displays Picasso\u2019s political commitment with works developed between 1949 and 1953, focusing for instance on world peace. Concretely, the exhibition shows the lithograph \u201CThe Dove\u201D, which was used for the First World Congress for Peace, held in Paris. Picasso\u2019s dove became one of the world\u2019s most well-known symbols for peace. This part also exhibits works from the \u201Cjoie de vivre\u201D series, with fauns and Greek mythological characters, symbols of post-war regeneration. Picasso created this series during his time in the South of France. Finally, the third part goes into the relationship between the artist and Françoise Gilot, and their children Claude and Paloma. Picasso and Gilot met in Paris in 1943 and lived together until 1954.

Picasso revolutionised lithography

Probably the most interesting aspect of the exhibition is analysing how Picasso revolutionised the lithographic technique. Despite the fact that Picasso only worked with this craft for a limited period of time and not as its main focus of attention, he managed to innovate and increase this craft\u2019s expressivity. He got involved in all aspects of the production process and his works had a great variety of states, variations and interpretations. Picasso used all kinds of plates (stone, zinc, transfer paper, etc.) and media (grease pencil, wash, pen, etc.), experimenting and exploring, pushing the technique to its maximum expressivity. He multiplied the impressions and re-impressions of the piece. Some lithographs were the 18th derived product of a series of mutations to modify the colour and textures through this process invented in the late 18th century.

Barcelona\u2019s Picasso Museum

Pepe Serra, the Director of the Picasso Museum, told CNA that the museum lithographic collection is \u201Cvery broad, diverse and extensive\u201D. The Picasso Museum of Barcelona owes 300 lithographs because the artist was almost always giving one copy to Jaume Sabartés, his lifelong personal assistant. Sabartés donated his entire collection to Barcelona\u2019s City Council in 1963 in order to feed the new museum devoted to the artist who revolutionised 20th century art. In fact, Barcelona\u2019s museum was a personal project of Picasso himself and Sabartés. Picasso wanted to give something back to the city where he spent his adolescence and youth and where he studied art. The Picasso Museum was created as the world\u2019s reference centre on Picasso\u2019s early years. Later the museum evolved and consolidating its place as one of the main interpretation centres in the world of all Picasso\u2019s works (if not the most important one). It recently unveiled a new space devoted to workshops and expert research on the artist.


  • A lithograph portraying Picasso's companion Françoise Gillot (by V. Gumà)

  • A lithograph portraying Picasso's companion Françoise Gillot (by V. Gumà)