When Picasso moved to the South of France in 1958, he found himself deprived of the printing facilities for colour lithography provided by his master printer Fernand Mourlot in Paris. Without the close contact with the workshop he found colour lithography time-consuming and frustrating. Craving a print medium which allowed him to work spontaneously and independently in colour, he adopted the medium of the linocut, used locally for posters advertising bull fights. Together with the young printer Arnéra, Picasso re-invented this medium, using the soft lino block to create fluid lines, layering different colours to create intricate patterns and textures.
Portrait de Jeune Fille, d'après Cranach is one of Picasso's first colour linocuts and a technical tour de force showing incredible skill and the ability to manipulate the medium. The result is one of his most important and sought-after printed works.
This impression is dedicated to Georges Tabaraud, the director of the daily Communist newspaper on the Côte d'Azur, Le Patriote de Nice et du Sud-Est. Picasso met Tabaraud first in 1946 on a beach of Golfe-Juan and the two men became great friends until Picasso's death in 1973. Picasso supported the Communist cause by donating original prints to Le Patriote in the years between 1957 and 1967 and designing a colour page each year advertising the Nice carnival.
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