Pablo Picasso is arguably one of the most well known artists in recent history and is credited with the development of Cubism. His immense body of work ranged through a variety of periods and
styles, ranging also in subject matter of grave seriousness to laughable absurdity. His prolific career has led to a wide proliferation of his work and many books have been written about his
significance to history.
The two prints by Picasso in our collection display a sense of the aforementioned variety in his works. One being the rough and textured etching of a donkey, and the other, a minimalistic rendition of a Classical Greek scene. The former employs a technique that few have mastered outside of Picasso, the sugar-lift etching. This process, much like other etching processes involves the use of a metal plate, usually zinc, an acid resistant substance, and acid. However, this process also involves the use of sugar and ink to render the original image onto the plate. Once dry, the plate is coated with an acid resistant ground, and once coated is washed. As the water washes over the coating, the sugar and ink beneath the ground cause it to wash away, leaving a negative of the image remaining in the ground. The plate is then placed in an acid bath to etch the bare metal, and once finished etching is cleaned and applied with ink. The ink is then wiped away, leaving it in the etched grooves and is pressed into a slightly moistened paper. This process allowed Picasso to etch precisely his expressive brushstrokes and to create more expressive texture.