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Au Bain (Bloch 136)

1930 (1 October, Boisgeloup)

Etching printed on Montval laid paper with Montgolfier watermark
From the Suite Vollard (S.V. 2), edition of 50
Signed by the artist in pencil, lower right
Inscribed "BG 201- Au Bain" by Henri Petiet in pencil, lower left margin
Printed by Lacourière, 1939
Published by Vollard, 1939
Image: 12 3/8 x 8 3/4 inches 
Sheet: 19 3/4 x 15 1/4 inches
(Bloch 136) (Baer 201.B.c)

In the second plate of the Suite Vollard, Picasso begins to introduce heavier line work into his etching, building the model in the foreground with hatched, volumetric marks. This approach gains momentum in the coming plates, to the point that plate nine is comprised of a field of crisscrossing lines that cover the entire image.

 

Upon closer inspection, this plate seems to show two views of the same figure, both seated on a draped bench. They are also treated differently; the woman in the background is depicted with simple contour lines while the other is heavily shaded and hatched to suggest volume.

 

This is also an early example in which Picasso contorts the figure in order to show simultaneous views, as seen in the torso of the figure in the foreground. This approach becomes increasingly important in his work of the mid-1930s in both painting and prints. The female figures in the “Sculptor’s Studio” prints of the Suite Vollard, which were etched a few years after the current plate, are more overtly distorted and twisted.