700170--PICASSO--Woman in a Hat, 1962

Femme au Chapeau, 1962 Pablo Picasso

Picasso started exploring this technique in earnest in 1953-4, with the printer Arnéra. At this time he began to experiment with making linoleum in different colors on separate blocks, which he would then superimpose on the same sheet of paper. Six years later, he engaged with it more intensely. Working with Arnéra again, he completed an interpretation of Lucas Cranach the Younger's 'Portrait of a Young Girl'. The result was astonishing but he found the exercise deeply frustrating, because of difficulties in registering six different blocks precisely, one on top of the other. The present work is a direct result of Picasso's attempts to overcome these frustrations. In the process, Picasso re-invented the technique of linoleum cutting. Rather than use separate blocks, he printed from just one - the so-called 'reduction' method. The uncarved block was printed in one flat color, and then cut and printed in each successive color, until there was little left of the original block. Whilst making the task of registration much simpler, it required tremendous foresight to know how each change in the block would affect the composition as a whole, and provided very little margin for error. In this example we see Picasso reveling in the new medium. He relished the physical act of cutting and slicing the linoleum, a matrix which encourages fluid, dynamic strokes. Evident also is the enthusiasm with which he employed the broad areas of color peculiar to this technique.

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