40 Dessins du Buffon: Tete de Femme
Commissioned in 1936 to produce a suite of illustrations for the Comte de Buffon’s Histoire Naturelle, or Natural History, Pablo Picasso seized the opportunity to experiment with the technique of sugar-lift aquatint. Picasso’s series of plates in gray scale of animals mentioned in Buffon’s text was first published in 1942 alongside excerpts from the work. In 1957, a version of the book given to Picasso’s mistress, Dora Maar, and adorned with forty of the artist’s hand-drawn illustrations of various types, these drawings were all reproduced in a limited edition of 2226. Each drawing was carefully rendered in the Duval atelier in Paris under Picasso’s supervision using offset lithography to achieve complete accuracy. This is referred to as an “after” because it is rendered after an original drawing. This version of the resulting work, the playful “40 Dessins de Picasso en Marge du Buffon,” hails from the edition of 226 printed on Arches vellum, aside from the larger edition of 2000 on various other papers. The artist signed this piece after publication presumably as a dedication to a friend or colleague, a common practice of the artist.
Published: Martin Fabiani, Paris, France, 1957
Printed: Duval, a Paris, L'Imprimerie Priester Freres
Catalog Ref: Cramer 84
Collections: Yale University Art Gallery; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Title: 40 Dessins du Buffon: Tete de Femme
Medium: Offset Lithograph
Image size: 14.5" x 11"
Edition: 105/226 total edition of 2226: 226 on d'Arches paper, numbered 1 to 226
Signature: Hand signed and dated in color crayon