“I spend hour after hour while I draw, observing my creatures and thinking about the mad things they’re up to; basically it’s my way of writing fiction.” – Pablo Picasso
The Vollard Suite is a series of etchings created by Pablo Picasso between 1930 and 1937. An art dealer and publisher, Ambroise Vollard was an early supporter of Picasso, among other masters, who featured Picasso’s works in an exhibition when he was only twenty years old. The suite contains five prominent themes – The Battle of Love, The Sculptor’s Studio, Rembrandt, The Minotaur, and portraits of Vollard. Picasso created 15 sheets dedicated solely to the subject of the Minotaur during 1933. Following the progression of the Minotaur in this series, aspects of Picasso’s identity come to the surface as if the Minotaur is his alter-ego.
Originating in Greek mythology, The Minotaur was a monstrous offspring of the Cretan Queen Pasiphae and a bull, resulting in a creature with the head and tail of a bull and the body of a man. He was locked up in a maze known as the Labyrinth and fed human sacrifices to survive until being killed by the hero Theseus. With this history in mind, it suggests that Picasso chose to utilize the Minotaur in order to express suffering, savagery, and possibly his turbulent relationships with the many women in his life.
Of the works from the Vollard Suite, Wounded Minotaur VI, from 1933 is on display in our gallery. The print depicts a convoluted yet graceful form of the Minotaur lying in his wounded agony, head tucked under his arms. The precise and repetitive lines curve and overlay to outline the beast as three onlookers gaze behind at the scene. Their empty stares don’t say much, but the fact that they witnessed his demise marks a pivotal moment; the battle between the civilized and the wild, the light and dark, as well as life and death is over. While the etching is Classical in style, it is also imbued with elements of Expressionism. Picasso presents the Minotaur from the perspective of his internal world. His emotions are conveyed symbolically, but his despair and hopelessness is more than apparent.
By borrowing from classical Greek mythology, Picasso interprets the myth through his own eyes, forming a new, dynamic narrative. This creature of immense power and bestiality can be seen as a comment on the tumultuous time in the world as well as a reflection on Picasso’s own inner turmoil. While married to his wife Olga, Picasso had an affair with a significantly younger woman by the name of Marie-Therese Walter. Her likeness can be seen in quite a few of the Minotaur series, such as The Minotaur’s Repose: Champagne and Mistress. The juxtaposition of the Minotaur and the mistress is one of great contrast. While he represents immorality, lust, and impulsiveness, the mistress displays her beauty without hesitance, resting her head on her hand and looking disinterested or perhaps even repelled by the situation she finds herself in. Both subjects gaze directly at the audience with the Minotaur looking bewildered as if he was caught in an immoral act. In this work, he appears to represent the personification of forbidden desires.
Come see the Wounded Minotaur VI among many other remarkable Picasso works during our opening reception on Saturday, February 18 from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm in our Winter Park showroom. The exhibition will be one of the largest exhibitions of major works in Florida. Pablo Picasso: “The Diary of a Master” will showcase the entire 347 series, numerous signed etchings, aquatints, linocuts and lithographs from Picasso’s Verve suites.
Everyone is invited to view this amazing display of masterworks from one of the most famous names in the world of art! Purchase tickets here or call Kirsten at 888-682-9995 x 301 for any questions.