Pablo Picasso - Le Bain de l’enfant


Original Etching with drypoint in black & white, 1905 (Paris), on Van Gelder paper, signed by the artist in the stone and dated 1905, printed after steel facing.

Edition:  There was an unsigned and unnumbered edition on Van Gelder Paper of 250. A further 27 or 29 proofs were made on verge de japan paper

Size:  plate: 342 by 288 mm ; sheet: 465 by 360 mm


Bloch, Georges. Pablo Picasso, catalogue de l'oeuvre gravé et lithographié, 4 vol. Berne: Kornfeld and Klipstein. 1968-1979. (Bloch:12)

Geiser, Bernhard and Brigitte Baer. Picasso: Peintre-Graveur, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre gravé et des monotypes, 7 vols. Berne: Kornfeld. 1986-1996. (Baer 14)

Note: This work was made after a drawing (Same position buy reversed) found in Zervos VI - Number 696

This comes from the series of etchings, known as “Les Saltimbanques”, consisted of a group of works all relating to the same theme: The circus. Here you see the Harlequin seated with his hat and drum watching his wife bathing their child.

This is Plate XII from the Suite des Saltiombanques.

"La Suite des Saltimbanques comprises: Le Repas Frugal (B. 1; Ba. 2). Tête de Femme (B. 2; Ba. 3). Les Pauvres (B. 3; Ba. 4). Buste d’Homme (B. 4; Ba. 5). Les Deux Saltimbanques (B. 5; Ba. 6). Tête de Femme, de Profil (B. 6; Ba. 7). Les Saltimbanques (B. 7; Ba. 9). L’Abreuvoir (B. 8; Ba. 10). Au Cirque (B. 9; Ba. 11). Le Saltimbanques au Repos (B. 10; Ba. 12). La Famille de Saltimbanques au Macaque (B. 11; Ba. 13). Le Bain (B. 12; Ba. 14). La Toilette de la Mère (B. 13; Ba. 15). Salomé (B. 14; Ba. 17). La Danse Barbare (B. 15; Ba. 18). The series of fifteen etchings and drypoints famously known as La Suite des Saltimbanques are Picasso’s first printed works. They encompass the most important subjects that preoccupied him during the beginning of his career. Bohemianism, poverty and the theatrical world are all the themes that inspired his work during the Rose and Blue periods. In 1904, a young Picasso living in the poorest conditions at the Bateau-Lavoir in Montmartre, produced his second ever etching, and the most important and largest subject in the series, Le Repas Frugal. A famished-looking couple sitting in front of a table, empty but for a crust of bread and some wine. A symbolic still life with a reference to the sacraments on an altar cloth. The worn physical expressions of these two figures are a clear identification of the artist’s life at this point in his career: moving from place to place, living a ‘frugal’ life. Due to his poverty, Picasso re-used a copper plate that had been previously etched by his artist friend Joan Gonzales; the traces of his ghostly landscape can still be seen in the upper part of the composition. This melancholic depiction of bohemian life constitutes one of the most important works in the graphic oeuvre of the artist. The other etchings in the series feature itinerant acrobats and harlequins. Picasso shows the performers behind the scenes, caught in the intimacy of their private moments. Some are shown rehearsing their acts and others are simply eating with their families or taking a bath. The Paris dealer and publisher Ambroise Vollard acquired the fifteen plates of the suite after the death of his neighbour and fellow dealer Clovis Sagot. Picasso had only printed a few impressions from each plate, and so Vollard decided to print an edition after having the plates steel-faced. This suite, so rarely found complete, includes also the rare subject La famille de Saltimbanques au Macaque (B. 11; Ba. 13). Vollard destroyed most of the edition due to the bad state of the copper plate. Therefore, only a few impressions have survived as it was not included when the series was commercialised. The poet and friend of Picasso, Guillaume Apollinaire wrote about this series: Picasso’s taste for pure lines which recedes, changes and penetrates, produced almost unique examples of linear drypoints. This set of prints had no obvious precedent, and proved not only Picasso’s ability as a draftsman and printmaker, but as a gifted young artist with a unique vision"

Provenance: From a Melrose, Massachusetts estate.

Published by: Ambroise Vollard, Paris

Printed by: Fort, Paris, , France

Public Collections:  

MOMA , New York

Detroit Museum of Arts

Musee d’Art Moderne de Paris

Condition: In good condition but with trimmed margins