This portrait of Jacqueline Roque, Picasso's second wife and muse, belongs to a series of six lithographic portraits made between December 1957 and 1958.
Picasso created the print using three plates, beginning with a somewhat prosaic profile in which Jacqueline is presented with her hair in a chignon on a light ground, then extensively re-working the plate with tusche wash to create the view of her in three-quarter profile with her hair falling on her shoulders on a dark background.
Using a knife, he scraped a network of highlights into the stone which delineate the figure. The effect is of a nocturnal scene in which Jacqueline's elegant features appear lit by a lamp or a candle.
'Le Cocu Magnifique' is a farcical play written by Belgian dramatist Fernand Crommelynck about a jealous man, Bruno, who – because of this jealously – ends the play by losing his wife, Stella.
Bruno is the kind of man who sees an enemy in the other sex; he seeks to control a woman, but he can never obtain this dominance because the female soul eludes him. It is because he cannot bear Stella’s love that he will in the end be cuckolded.
The play premiered in Paris in December 1920 and in 1968, Picasso produced a series of 12 etchings and aquatints based on the play's text. Picasso and Crommelynck knew each other for many years, and for some time Picasso had intended to illustrate the play.
Picasso's dramatic and often explicit depiction of Crommelynck's story is well suited to the stark black and white media of aquatint and etching.
Our new Summer Show is now open, running to the end of August 2022 at our gallery on Maddox Street and at Shapero Rare Books at 105 New Bond Street. A group selling show celebrating the brilliance and diversity of modern and contemporary printmaking, artists include Andy Warhol, Alex Katz, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella and Pablo Picasso.