This striking aquatint engraving is from the work after Pablo Picasso and Georges Louis Leclerc comte de Buffon entitled Eaux-Fortes Originales pour des Textes de Buffon. The work was published in Paris by Martin Fabiani in 1942. This is from number 59 of a total edition of 226 with this being one of the 55 special printings on vélin de Montval. The aquatints were printed by Roger Lacourière after original art by Pablo Picasso.
“The Buffon is one of the greatest bestiaries of the 20th century. Picasso began these etchings in 1936 (he had promised them to Vollard, who died before their completion; Fabiani was one of Vollard’s associates). It appears that the artist executed them rapidly, and with the utmost freedom. The master printer Lacourière had introduced Picasso, as well as Rouault and other artists, to the lift-ground or sugar aquatint process, which allowed a variety of tones and textures within a limited range. The spontaneity of the plates is attested by the freehand margins, the rapidly drawn line, and the use of fingerprints for textural variety.” (Garvey, The Artist & the Book, 231)
This aquatint is an artistic and wonderful interpretation after Pablo Picasso created from Buffon’s work. Buffon’s work became one of the most informative sources as far as the visual appearance of animals, and was highly understandable for a wide audience. Buffon described his work and love for natural history by stating that, “Natural history embraces all the objects the universe presents to us. This prodigious multitude of quadrupeds, birds, fish, insects, plants, minerals, etc., offers to the curiosity of the human mind a vast spectacle, of which the whole is so great that the details are inexhaustible.”
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and theater designer. Most of his career was spent in France. He was one of the most eminent artists of the 20th century. He is arguably the most important figure to art and art movements in the 1900s.