Picasso's 'Vollard Suite' prints in Istanbul

The inauguration of the exhibition at the Pera Museum in this year's European Capital of Culture was attended by Infanta Elena of Spain, which is an indication of the importance of this collection of works by the Malaga artist.

The exhibition of intaglio prints, which will be open to the public until April 18th, brings together a collection of one hundred prints by Pablo Picasso made between September 1930 and March 1937. The suite was commissioned by the French art dealer Ambroise Vollard, and the artist used a number of different techniques including etching, aquatint and drypoint.

Owned by the Spanish Fundacion Mapfre, this is one of the few complete sets of the Vollard Suite in existence. The complicated history of the origin of the work, its thematic variety and the diversity of techniques employed encouraged the popularity and dispersion of the prints.

The set appeared in 1939 in two formats: one large, on vellum paper signed by the artist in red or black pencil, with 50 prints per plate, and another print run of 250 copies in much smaller format on Montval laid paper with the watermark "Vollard" or " Picasso".

The complete series includes three portraits of Ambroise Vollard, five plates on the theme The battle of love - also called Rape - and made in 1933, forty-six plates on The sculptor's studio, four plates on Rembrandt, fifteen on The blind minotaur, and twenty-seven compositions with free theme. The engravings do not follow any logical sequence in their images, their chronology being due more to external events and the artist's personal life.

The Vollard Suite is fully involved in the dialectic that typifies Picasso's work, oscillating between order and violence, classicism and disfigurement, serenity and chaos ... The series brings together all the artist's influences, his delusions of grandeur and his deep Mediterranean culture.

This is the third time that the Foundacion Mapfre has exhibited the 'Vollard Suite', the most recent being at the Cervantes Institute in New Delhi on the occasion of the inauguration of the centre. This time, the exhibition is co-sponsored by the Instituto Cervantes and Istanbul's Suna ve Inan Kiraç Foundation.

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