Pablo Picasso’s ‘Vollard Suite’ is a set of 100 etchings, engravings and aquatints created by the artist in the 1930s and named after Ambroise Vollard, his sometime art dealer and publisher. It contains several themes that were close to Picasso’s heart – principally the classically derived subjects of the Minotaur (the man–beast) and Pygmalion (the artist obsessed with his model).
Picasso once said of the role of an artist, ‘it’s not what the artist does that counts, but what he is’. He identified himself, along with his own sense of artistic creativity and sexuality, with the mythical figure of the Minotaur. Nowhere is the link between the artist and ‘the untamable beast’, to use Picasso’s words, more apparent than in the ‘Vollard Suite’. In these prints the major emphasis was devoted to transformations of the artists into his alter-ego, the Minotaur.
As with the subject of the Minotaur, Picasso’s interpretations of Pygmalion were autobiographical in tone, and his view of himself as an artist and lover figured largely in depictions of this theme in the ‘Vollard Suite’ – as does his muse Marie-Thérèse Walter with her extraordinary ‘classical’ countenance.
This iconic suite of prints will be shown alongside selected works from the QAGOMA Collection.
‘Picasso: The Vollard Suite’ is a National Gallery of Australia Exhibition.
Picasso the Vollard Suite Exhibition
2 December 2017 – 15 April 2018
Queensland Art Gallery