CAISSE À REMORDS

Picasso and Jacqueline Roque moved to Notre-Dame-de-Vie outside of Mougins in 1960, and in the process discovered a cache of unprinted plates in the artist’s atelier in Cannes. Picasso went through the plates—created over the last few decades—with Jacques Frélaut and carefully selected approximately fifty to be published retroactively.  A portfolio in an edition of fifty was printed at Lacourière’s studio in 1961. Some plates were printed in fewer impressions because, at Picasso’s request, they were not steelfaced and therefore could not produce acceptable impressions for the entire run. Picasso signed ten impressions at the time of printing.

 

Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Picasso’s publisher and owner of Galerie Louise Leiris, hand-delivered the entire edition to Picasso for signing in a large caisse, or box. As Frélaut predicted, Picasso “took one look at it and asked for it to be put in a corner.”i The task was so onerous to the artist that he never got around to it, and the box was remained untouched in his studio at the time of his death in 1973. It was hence fittingly named the Caisse à remords, which can be loosely translated as “The Box of Neglect.” The prints were subsequently issued in 1981 by Galerie Louise Leiris with the blessing of Picasso’s heirs. Each impression was marked with a stamped signature and numbered.

 

The images from the Caisse à Remords are prized by collectors because they represent an intimate view of the artist’s personal vision, including portraits of friends and family, studies that illuminate his larger body of work at the time they were created, and sexual themes that would become more overt in his later work.

 

i Brigitte Baer, Picasso the Printmaker: Graphics from the Marina Picasso Collection. Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1983, 49.