Marie-Thérèse regardant son Corps sculpté
Marie-Thérèse regardant son Corps sculpté (Bloch 186)

1933 (May 4, Paris)

Etching printed on Montval laid paper with Montgolfier watermark
From the Suite Vollard (S.V. 73), edition of 50 from the fourth (final) state 
Signed by the artist in pencil, lower right
Inscribed "334" in pencil, lower left; "186, 334, 19658" in pencil, upper left verso
Printed by Lacourière, 1939
Published by Vollard, 1939
Image: 10 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches
Sheet: 19 3/4 x 15 1/4 inches
Framed: 23 3/16 x 19 3/16 inches
(Bloch 186) (Baer 345.IV.B.c)

The forty-six etchings of the “Sculptor’s Studio” series have long been understood as a meditation on the nature of art: its creation, its players, and its appreciation. In this image, we have elements of all three. The model (who resembles Marie-Thérèse Walter, Picasso’s mistress) contemplates a sculpture of her torso. Her relaxed posture and the lush surroundings underscore the languorous atmosphere of the studio.

 

The style Picasso used in this plate is different from the majority of the prints in the Suite Vollard, which are generally composed of simple contour lines. Here, the two figures are covered in hatch marks and heavily shaded. The walls of the studio are also textured. Picasso’s heavily-worked image seems to draw attention to the very fact that it is a work of art, thus completing a clever visual puzzle: we admire a work of art that represents a work of art and the very model for that work, who is also—in reality—a representation.

 

The current impression is one of fifty deluxe impressions of the fourth (final) state with large margins printed on Montval laid paper watermarked “Papeterie Montgolfier à Montval,” outside of the edition of 260 (there was also a small edition of three). It was printed by Roger Lacourière in late 1938 or early 1939. The untimely death of Ambroise Vollard in the summer of 1939 delayed their commerce until 1948 when the prints were acquired by dealer Henri Petiet through the Vollard estate.