Pablo Picasso

Etching: 19 February 1970 (L.16)

1970

Artist
Pablo Picasso 1881–1973
Part of
156 Series
Original title
Eau-forte 19 Février 1970
Medium
Etching on paper
Dimensions
Unconfirmed: 510 x 640 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1993
Reference
P77585

On loan to: Auckland Art Gallery (Auckland, New Zealand)

Exhibition: Nude: art from the Tate collection

Display caption

Confronted by old age and impotence, Picasso was defiantly productive. These works are drawn from the series of 156 prints which he made between 1970 and 1972, around the age of 90. The series has been compared to a private theatre, in which the actors are Picasso himself, his close friends, and his favourite artists of the past. In the works shown here, Picasso appears as both a gnarled satyr, and as a shadowy silhouette looking on at two prostitutes. The face of his wife Jacqueline is portrayed in an artist’s sketchbook, as he watches a group of top-hatted clients enter a brothel. The Impressionist artist Edgar Degas appears as a frock-coated voyeur. The fixation with sexuality and voyeurism is bound up with an awareness of mortality. For Picasso, art had become the only means to defy the approach of death.

Gallery label, August 2004