Pablo Picasso’s Vollard Suite is a set of 100 etchings, engravings and aquatints created by the artist in the 1930s and named after Ambroise Vollard, his sometime art dealer and publisher. It contains several themes that were close to Picasso’s heart – principally the classically derived subjects of the Minotaur (the man–beast) and Pygmalion (the artist obsessed with his model).
Picasso once said of the role of an artist, ‘it’s not what the artist does that counts, but what he is’. He identified himself, along with his own sense of artistic creativity and sexuality, with the mythical figure of the Minotaur. Nowhere is the link between the artist and ‘the untamable beast’, to use Picasso’s words, more apparent than in the Vollard Suite. In these prints the major emphasis was devoted to transformations of the artists into his alter-ego, the Minotaur.
As with the subject of the Minotaur, Picasso’s interpretations of Pygmalion were autobiographical in tone, and his view of himself as an artist and lover figured largely in depictions of this theme in the Vollard Suite – as does his muse Marie-Thérèse Walter with her extraordinary ‘classical’ countenance.
This iconic suite of prints will be shown alongside selected works from the QAGOMA Collection. Picasso: The Vollard Suite is a National Gallery of Australia Exhibition.
Image 3: Pablo PICASSO / Minotaure, buveur et femmes. [Minotaur, man drinking and women.] / 18 June 1933, plate reworked probably at the end of 1934 / from the Vollard Suite (92) / National Gallery of Australia / ©Succession Picasso. Licensed by Viscopy, 2017
Image 4: Pablo PICASSO / Minotaure aveugle guidé par une fillette dans la nuit. [Blind minotaur led by a little girl at night.] / between 3-7 December and 31 December 1934, or 1 January 1935 / from the Vollard Suite (97) / National Gallery of Australia / ©Succession Picasso. Licensed by Viscopy, 2017.