Pablo Picasso - Numa suit les cours de Pythagore


Numa follows the teachings of Pythagoras

Medium: Original etching, 20th September 1930 (Boisgeloup, France) , on BFK Rives paper, with etching platemark, cancellation marks and remorques.

Edition : 100 unsigned and unnumbered proofs


Brigitte Baer (Picasso Peintre-Graveur - Volume 1: Catalogue Raisonne de L’Oeuvre Grave et Lithographie et des Monotypes 1899 - 1931 - Volume 1) Reference Ba 172

Georges Bloch (Catalogue de l’oeuvre grave et lithographe 1904 - 1967) - Volume 1 Reference : 128

Cramer (Patrick Cramer “Pablo Picasso: The Illustrated Books, Geneva 1983) - Reference 19

Note 1: On the Editioning:: This is a very complex series and there were several editions struck from the uncancelled plate without remorques. The plates were later cancelled, in 1931, remorques added and an edition of 100 made from which this comes.

Note 2 : On the History of the Series: This was made as an illustration for “Les Metamorphoses” by Publius Ovidus Naso (Known to us as OVID). Albert Skira has founded a publishing house in Lausanne in 1928 and contacted Picasso with a view to having a book illustrated by him. As a result of discussions between Picasso and Pierre Matisse (The painters son) it was decided that the book concerned should be “Les Metamorphoses” by Ovid. This was a subject which fascinated Picasso since it dealt with a whimsical incident in which women were transformed into fish. The original work was written in hexametric verse and is considered a classic from the ancient world. Skira copied the French version suggesting that Picasso should make 15 etchings to be included within the book. Picasso delayed a long while but eventually went on to create a total of 30 etchings. These, unusually, generally kept to the subject matter of the Roman poets words. Picasso employed a style of classicism interpreted in pure contours with subtle eroticism. The artist was newly celebrating his 50th birthday at this time. He had also recently met his new young mistress, Marie Therese Walter and installed her in an apartment just a few hundred yards away from the marital home in rue La Boete, Paris. This new affair thrilled the artist and illustrations of his new love abound in the series of the Metamorphoses. A later facsimile edition of this work was made in 1973 in a smaller format (280 x 220 mms) and this is readily identifiable due to it’s size.

Note 3: On the subject matter: This event takes place in the last of Ovid’s books in which he discusses the conversation between the ancient king of Rome, Numa, and the Greek philosopher Pythagorus

Size: 449 x 337 mms (paper size) ; 312 x 224 mms (Plate size)

Published by: Albert Skira

Printed by:  Roger Lacourier, Paris, France