Monday, March 31, 2008


During his lifetime Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso (1881-1973 ) created approximately 2000 prints in a variety of media ranging from etching, drypoint, lithograph, to linocut. The 100 remarkable etchings that make up the Vollard Suite are generally regarded as the finest of his achievements in printmaking. The Vollard Suite, created between 1930-37, was named after it publisher, the French art dealer and critic, Ambroise Vollard with whom Picasso had a long working relationship. The Suite itself comprises 73 sheets on five main themes; The Battle of Love, The Sculptors Studio, Rembrandt, The Minotaur and the Blind Minotaur. There are a further 27 sheets on disparate themes including 3 portraits of Ambroise Vollard (It is made up of 100 etchings and the entire suite comprises of 3 copies on parchment.Since an etching is considered the original work of an artist; there are a total of 303 original Vollard Suites. )

Chosen from a large volume of Pablo Picasso's graphic achievements, the Vollard Suite collection traces the erotic and passionate love affair between Pablo Picasso and Marie-Therese Walter, his model, and mistress. She captivated him and was the object of his "amour fou" (mad love). Pablo Picasso and Marie-Therese Walter met in 1927 and she soon became his inspiration for the Vollard Suite. Described as his "eternal" love, she was enraptured by Pablo Picasso.

Ambroise Vollard helped launch the careers of such respected artists as Renoir and Cezanne. He was a respected Paris picture dealer and publisher of limited-edition books, lithographs & etchings and his gallery was known as the centre for leading art figures in Paris and helped stimulate a new movement in art. The Vollard suite is one of the most internationally exhibited work of Art of the XXth century.

In 1972 the Collection went on auction for 90,000 Gns. ($226,800). The National Gallery of Australia is fortunate to have the entire suite in their gallery. It is unknown where all of the 303 (total copies from each format) of each etching are located. They are spread from museums to private collections and are considered to be some of the most highly desirable of all Picasso prints.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


French painter and sculptor Niki de Saint-Phalle, born Catherine-Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint Phalle ( 1930 2002) was an extraordinary personality who rejected the bourgeoise values of her wealthy family background of Neuilly, France. As young as 16 she made the cover story of Life Magazine and four years later of Vogue as a model.

Her training was self taught and she was encouraged first by the American painter Hugh Weiss , later by the work of Antonio Gaudí and eventually by Swiss painter Jean Tinguely whom she finally married in 1971.

After meeting up with Tinguely, Marcel Duchamp introduced the pair to the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí. De Saint Phalle later traveled to Spain with Tinguely in order to attend a celebration honoring Dalí. In 1961, she became known around the world for her Shooting paintings (below right) consisting of a wooden base board on which containers of paint were laid, then covered with plaster. The painting was then raised and de Saint Phalle would shoot at it with a .22 caliber rifle. The bullets penetrated paint containers which spilled their contents over the painting. During the 1960s, she also designed decors and costumes for two theatrical productions: a ballet by Roland Petit, and an adaptation of the Aristophanes play "Lysistrata."

Influenced by Gaudí´s Parc Güell in Barcelona, and the garden in Bomarzo, Saint Phalle decided that she wanted to make something similar; a monumental sculpture park created by a woman. In 1979, she acquired some land in Tuscany . The garden, called Giardino dei Tarocchi in Italian, contains sculptures of the symbols found on Tarot cards. The garden took many years, and a considerable sum of money, to complete. It opened in 1998, after more than 20 years of work.

Her works do not reach very high prices because they has always been very controversial and some say ugly. I disagree and consider that the Saint Phalle was a very inovative artist and her work is original, colourful and flamboyant. She was a woman of high charism and considerable stamina who was afraid of nothing and nobody.

Nana et Chien (Nana and Dog)(1) is a painted polyester measuring 16 1/8in. (41cm.) in hight and executed in 1986 : this work is number one from an edition of ten and reached $43,000 in an auction sale by Christie's in London in October 2004.

NB : (1) The French word Nana is a slang word used to refer to a woman, generally in a slightly pejorative way