"Last winter, from mid-December to the end of January 1954 Picasso was working indefatigably on this series of drawings, which rank among the finest, boldest, most poignantly human of all he has produced in the course of his long and brilliant career... Almost one could fancy that in his lonely nights at Vallauris these denizens of a world invented by himself crowded into the artist's room, sat for him, confessed unblushingly their most shameful secrets... We have published the series of drawings in its entirety. They form an organic whole, born of a surging uprush of the creative spirit, and to have omitted any of its elements would have been a mutilation. Nevertheless, when we isolate anyone of these elements and fix our attention on a single page, we find the fragment almost as eye-filling as the ensemble. All the drawings are reproduced in the exact size of the originals and in the chronological order of their making." -Teriade
FIRST EDITION, COMPLETE WITH TWELVE ORIGINAL COLOR LITHOGRAPHS, of the English language issue of the special double issue of Verve 29/30 dedicated to Picasso. A beautiful copy.
“The ‘Human Comedy’ series of drawings, which Picasso created in the winter of 1953/54 during a period of intense personal crisis, provides the basis for the ‘Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man’… A thematic analysis of the series not only shows how central the subject of artist and model was within the ‘Human Comedy’ staged by Picasso, but also how Picasso was to link the theme specifically with a questioning of old age and his own late style concerns. The ‘Human Comedy’ reads like a parody of the 1933 Vollard Suite, in which the artist is cast as a classical sculptor at the height of his powers. Twenty years later, we find that the idealized artist-god has shrunken in stature and shows his age in all too human terms. This comical about-face is marked by a significant shift in tone, from the ideals of classicism to a mocking of the grotesque body, which ultimately proves renewing and life-affirming despite the satirical self-caricature. It is this adoption of parody in both his style and his personal point of view that marks the ‘Human Comedy’ as the true beginning of Picasso’s late period. Within these bittersweet drawings, Picasso self-consciously thematizes the issue of an artist’s late style and begins in the process to confront both his own myth and historical identity, though always in masked terms” (Karen L. Kleinfelder, The Artist, His Model, Her Image, His Gaze: Picasso’s Pursuit of the Model).
Complete with 180 illustrations; 16 in color (including the 12 lithographs).
Housed in a magnificent custom clamshell box by noted book artist Sjoerd Hofstra.
New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1954. Folio, original illustrated boards, original dust jacket; custom box. Book with text block slightly shaken (as usual with this book), a few light spots of foxing on final lithograph and margins of penultimate lithograph. Rare dust jacket in nearly perfect condition. A magnificent copy - the finest we've carried.
Price: $4,800 .