Troupe d'Acteurs
Troupe d'Acteurs troupe-d-acteurs-46646

Troupe d’Acteurs

Troupe d'Acteurs

Lithograph, 1954. 
Image size:  19.25 in x 25.5 in, with full margins. 
Signed in ink, lower left, and numbered 39/50 in pencil, lower right. 
A very good impression of this large, scarce lithograph. 
Bloch 754; Mourlot 250; Reuße 641.

This scene depicting a troupe of actors presumably in costume with so many vivid characters.  The old lady on the extreme right can be identified as “La Celestine” who appears a lot in Picasso’s later works.  “La Celestine” is a figure that has been with Picasso throughout his career, as she was the figure in one of Picasso’s blue period paintings.  She is a fortune teller, or matchmaker and must have had great significance to Picasso.  She is not the only recognizable character in this image, the facing figure with the jaunty hat closely resembles Jean Cocteau.  This lithograph is in the permanent collections of MoMA and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

Picasso created lithographs, etchings, drypoints, linocuts and woodcuts.  Always searching for something new, he experimented a lot with these techniques. Some of Picasso’s graphic works are combinations of several techniques.
In 1905, Picasso created his first prints – a series of 15 drypoints and etchings. More graphic works were produced in the early 1930’s. But it was in the years after World War II that most of Picasso’s prints were created.
Picasso often worked with the Atelier Mourlot, a renowned art publisher and print workshop in Paris. Pablo Picasso created about 200 lithographs from 1945 to 1949 in close cooperation with Henri Deschamps, a professional printmaker from the Mourlot studio.  Today, Picasso’s prints are highly sought after by art enthusiasts across the globe.

Pablo Picasso is probably the most important figure of the 20th century, in terms of art and art movements that occurred over this period.  Before the age of 50, the Spanish born artist had become the most well-known name in modern art, with the most distinct style and eye for artistic creation.  There had been no other artists, prior to Picasso, who had such an impact on the art world, or had a mass following of fans and critics alike, as he did.

Pablo Picasso was born in Spain in 1881 and was raised there before going on to spend most of his adult life working as an artist in France.  Throughout the long course of his career, he created more than 20,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and other items such as costumes and theater sets.  He is universally renowned as one of the most influential and celebrated artists of the twentieth century.

Picasso’s ability to produce works in an astonishing range of styles made him well respected during his own lifetime.  After his heath in 1973 his value as an artist and inspiration to other artists has only grown.  He is without a doubt destined to permanently etch himself into the fabric of humanity as one of the greatest artists of all time.

As an artist and an innovator, he is responsible for co-founding the entire Cubist movement alongside George Braque.  Cubism was an avant-garde art movement that changed forever the face of European painting and sculpture while simultaneously affecting contemporary architecture, music and literature.  Subjects and objects in Cubism are broken up into pieces and re-arranged in an abstract form.  During the period from approximately 1910-1920 when Picasso and Braque were laying the foundation for Cubism in France, its effects were so far-reaching as to inspire offshoots like the styles of Futurism, Dada, and Constructicism in other countries.  Picasso is also credited with inventing constructed sculpture and co-inventing the collage art style.  He is also regarded as one of three artists in the twentieth century credited with defining the elements of plastic arts.  This revolutionary art form led society toward societal advances in painting, sculpture, printmaking and ceramics by physically manipulating materials that had not previously been carved or shaped.  These materials were not just plastic, they were things that could be molded in some way, usually into three dimensions.  Artists used clay, plaster, precious metals, and wood to create revolutionary sculptural artwork the world had never seen before.

SKU: M-PICASSO-102409 Artist: Tag:
Nicole Wolff
Gallery Director

Born in Malaga, Spain in 1881, Pablo Picasso is universally regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. His stature ranged from painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer to poet and playwright, living most of his life in France. While most well-known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture and co-inventing collage, Picasso also developed a wide variety of artistic styles. After his formative years of painting in a naturalistic manner, he experimented with different theories, techniques, and ideas. Picasso was extraordinarily prolific throughout the course of  his long life of 91 years and along with rival, Henri Matisse, is viewed as a leader of modern art as we know it.

The son of an academic painter, José Ruiz Blanco, he began to draw at an early age.  In 1895, the family moved to Barcelona, and Picasso studied there at La Lonja, the academy of fine arts.  His visit to Horta de Ebro from 1898 to 1899, and his association with the group at the café Els Quatre Gats about 1899 were crucial to his early artistic development.  In 1900, Picasso's first exhibition took place in Barcelona, and that fall he went to Paris for the first of several stays during the early years of the century.  Picasso settled in Paris in April 1904, and soon his circle of friends included Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Gertrude and Leo Stein, as well as two dealers, Ambroise Vollard and Berthe Weill.

His style developed from the Blue Period (1901-04) to the Rose Period (1905) to the pivotal work Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and the subsequent evolution of Cubism from an Analytic phase (ca. 1908-11), through its Synthetic phase (beginning in 1912-13). 

Picasso's collaboration on ballet and theatrical productions began in 1916.  Soon thereafter, his work was characterized by neo-classicism and a renewed interest in drawing and figural representation.  In the 1920s, the artist and his wife, Olga (whom he had married in 1918), continued to live in Paris, to travel frequently, and to spend their summers at the beach.  From 1925 into the 1930s, Picasso was involved to a certain degree with the Surrealists, and from the fall of 1931 he was especially interested in making sculpture. In 1932, with large exhibitions at the Galeries Georges Petit, Paris, and the Kunsthaus Zürich, and the publication of the first volume of Christian Zervos's catalogue raisonné, Picasso's fame increased markedly.

By 1936, the Spanish Civil War had profoundly affected Picasso, the expression of which culminated in his painting Guernica (1937, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid). Picasso's association with the Communist Party began in 1944. From the late 1940s, he lived in the South of France.  Among the enormous number of Picasso exhibitions that were held during the artist's lifetime, those at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1939 and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, in 1955 were most significant. In 1961, the artist married Jacqueline Roque, and they moved to Mougins.  There Picasso continued his prolific work in painting, drawing, prints, ceramics, and sculpture until his death April 8, 1973. 

Although Pablo Picasso taught himself the engraving techniques that he mastered, he actually produced more than 2,500 engravings. In the 1930s he produced what is known as the Vollard Suite, a series of 100 prints whose themes provide an insight into the life of the Spanish artist and the difficult period the world was experiencing at the time.

Vollard: Nothing had predestined Ambroise Vollard (1866-1939) to reach the pinnacle of the art market. Although criticised for his commercial methods, today his name is associated with the artists who he discovered and supported, and whose creativity he occasionally steered. Passionate about literature, he decided to embark on a career in publishing with the ambition of bringing together the best authors and the best artists. Over time, he increasingly specialized in publishing prints… and that is how he convinced PICASSO to give him 100 engravings (and their commercial rights) in exchange for two paintings by RENOIR and CÉZANNE.

Who was Henri M. Petiet? Henri Petiet was a key figure in the 20th Century art market. His ancestor, Claude Petiet, Minister of War in the French Directory Government appointed the young General Bonaparte as Chief Commander of the army in Italy, leading the campaign there which earned the Petiet family a noble title. Endowed with great intelligence, a prodigious memory and an appetite for collecting, Henri’s primary passion was the fine art print.

In 1925 he became an art dealer, six months after meeting Ambroise Vollard, who had worked with the likes of Cezanne and Van Gogh, and had organized major exhibitions, such as Picasso’s first in 1901. In the US market Petiet was the man behind entire print departments of great American Museums. He played a key role in enhancing the place of the print in major collections, both public and private, thanks to the confidence and trust he gained from important curators, dealers and collectors.

His greatest stroke of genius was in his purchasing of the Vollard Collection when Ambroise Vollard passed away. Henri Petiet moved fast and bought all of the prints from the Vollard collection including a monumental ensemble of prints, the ‘Vollard Suite’, Picasso’s print masterpiece, a set of 100 plates etched and engraved between 1930 and 1937 on a variety of subjects. Only a few of the prints had been signed. But in November of 1950, and after long negotiations, Picasso agreed to sign one set of the ‘Vollard Suite’ after Petiet met the demands and the fees of the highly sought-after Master. After that Picasso refused to sign any more of the Vollard Suite sets.