Still Life with Glass Under the Lamp

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973)
Linocut, Edition of 50, No. 15 
comp: 21 x 25-1/4 in. (53.3 x 64.1 cm); sheet: 24-1/2 x 29-1/2 in. (62.2 x 74.9 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 
Not on View

The linocut, made using a relief printmaking technique, is created by cutting into the surface of linoleum. What is not cut away picks up the rolled-on ink, which is then transferred to paper. The softness of the linoleum allowed Picasso to make continuous fluid strokes that yield curvilinear patterns. To
accommodate four colors, Picasso did not resort to using four linoleum blocks because he felt it stifled the progress of his creativity. To accommodate his desired work pace, the artist developed a reductive “cut and come again” method using a single block, printing first with white or cream ink before any background had been cut away. Then he made his first pass on the linoleum with a knife, inked the block with a second color and pulled what became the first drawing or first state. In this still life, he repeated the process four times, with four colors.

By reputation, linocut was considered a craft, suitable for children and young artists. Yet this 81-year-old artist brought innovation to this so-called primitive technique and realized a monumental, powerfully composed still life. The strong palette, bold shapes and curvilinear lines have much affinity with Spanish art and the Moorish influences that Picasso remembered from his homeland.

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