CULTURE

Picasso experiments with linogravure

Pablo Picasso was not only a prolific painter but an artist who constantly experimented with different media and excelled in all. In addition to painting and sculpture, he also fully explored the art of ceramics and various graphic art techniques as well as producing hundreds of book illustrations. His work in the etching technique of linocut, or linogravures, is highlighted in «Pablo Picasso: Experimentations in Linogravure» an exhibition taking place at the Gagosian Gallery. This is the second exhibition at the Athens offices of the Gagosian Gallery since its opening in late fall. The first presented recent large paintings by Cy Twombly. One series in the Picasso exhibit, showing a couple in an embrace depicted in subtly different variations, has grace and vigor. Lines that are both sinuous and angular delineate the shape of two bodies locked together in an erotic embrace. El Greco homage In another room, the series «Portrait d’homme a la fraise» (Variations d’apres El Greco), pays homage to the great master Domenicos Theotokopoulos but also includes elements of self-portraiture. A colorful portrait of a woman wearing a hat is an image of Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s last wife and muse. «Faunes et chevre» combines mythology – a recurring inspiration in the artist’s work – with references to rural life and nature. All the works included were produced between 1959 and 1963 when Picasso was already a mature artist in his late 70s. The artist, who was then spending most of his time in southern France, had increasingly turned his attention to the linocut technique. Compared to other etching techniques, linocutting is more direct and simpler, giving Picasso the ability to work without relying on the printers in Paris with whom he had worked previously. Initially, Picasso produced linogravures by cutting a sheet of linoleum using a knife, chisel or gouge. Gradually, he developed the technique, simplifying it even further to a more sophisticated level whereby he would recut a single surface to attain a multicolored end result (instead of using separate linoleum blocks for each color). From 1959 to 1962, Picasso made around 100 linogravures. The Gagosian Gallery includes fine specimens of them, thus continuing its program of upscale art that only a specialized and quite wealthy clientele can afford. «Pablo Picasso: Experimentations in Linogravure,» at the Gagosian Gallery (3 Merlin, tel 210.364.0215). Open: Mondays-Fridays 11 a.m – 6 p.m., Saturdays by appointment only.