I was recently up in Barnsley, South Yorkshire collecting some steel for a new project. Whilst there I noticed posters advertising a Picasso exhibition in the town centre. Must admit, at first, I didn’t quite believe it, a Picasso exhibition in Barnsley. I went along to the Cooper Gallery and it was true, the gallery was showing a series of Picasso lithographs, recently acquired by the British Museum and on loan.
Lino cutting was a technique that Picasso explored in the late 1950s and early 1960s and the prints included in this exhibition were made in 1962 when Picasso was 80 years old. Artworks featured include prints showing the development of two key Picasso prints from that year: ‘Jacqueline Reading’ – depicting his wife and muse – and the ‘Still Life under the Lamp’.
The exhibition features 17 original linocut prints and reveals the two differing ways in which Picasso made his linocuts. In the Still Life he used just one piece of lino, building up the brilliantly coloured final image through successively printing different colours and progressively cutting away its surface. Such a method did not allow any room for error and shows Picasso’s creative powers were undimmed despite his age. The print of his wife was made by combining two pieces of lino, one boldly cut with the outline and the other worked over to create tone and texture. See the video below that explains his printing process.
For me as a graphic designer it was great because it showed the step by step progression of his technique, with proofs at each stage of the printing process which was far more interesting than just seeing the finished print.
The exhibition runs till 29th April and is well worth a visit if you are in the area, better still admission is free.
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