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Minotaure et Jeune Femme enlacés rêvant sous une Fenêtre (Bloch 199)

1933 (June 16, Paris)

Etching printed on laid Montval, before steelfacing
From the Suite Vollard (S.V. 91), printer's proof outside the editions of 3, 50, and 260
Printed by Lacourière, 1939
Published by Vollard, 1939
Image: 7 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches
Sheet: 13 3/8 x 17 3/4 inches
Framed: 19 3/8 x 21 13/16 inches
(Bloch 199) (Baer 367.B.d)

 

The fifteen Minotaur plates of the Suite Vollard show the beast in a variety of scenarios and moods. Here, he has comfortably taken the place of the distinguished and handsome sculptor of the “Sculptor’s Studio” series as lover of the beautiful model. The sheer drapery on either side of the composition suggests secrecy and drama, inviting the viewer into this bizarre, yet pleasant, world. The beast casually embraces his mistress in the sumptuous surroundings of the studio—above them, a picture window reveals an Arcadian landscape. They smile absently, looking directly at the viewer, as if to present a challenge of acceptance for their unnatural love.

 

In this image and Marie-Thérèse, en Vestale, veillant le Minotaure endormi (Bloch 193) of the Suite Vollard, the Minotaur sleeps under the watchful eye of his lover, and, thus, Picasso presents an unexpectedly human and tender side of his mythical beast. He coaxes a sympathetic response from the viewer for the Minotaur’s weakness and tenderness, though our initial reaction to seeing such a creature would be revulsion.

 

The current impression is a proof printed before steelfacing outside the edition of 260 printed on Montval laid paper watermarked “Vollard” and “Picasso”. (There was also an edition of fifty with wide margins and a separate watermark, and 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.