Jan 8, 2009

Vollard Suite: Minotaur Caressing a Sleeping Woman

Vollard Suite: Minotaur Caressing a Sleeping Woman


Pablo Picasso

(Spanish, 1881–1973)


Support: Medium weight handmade laid paper with watermark of a mermaid enclosed in a circle

Sheet: 38.5 x 50.1 cm (15 3/16 x 19 3/4 in.); Platemark: 29.6 x 36.5 cm (11 5/8 x 14 3/8 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 2000.20

Catalogue raisonné: Bloch I.68.201; Baer II.137.369

State: IIIb / IIIc

Edition: 50 on large paper, 260 on small



The Vollard Suite is a group of 100 prints executed in 1930–36 and published by the art dealer Ambroise Vollard in 1939. Since Picasso did not originally create these plates as a unified set, they address several themes, including the legend of the Minotaur. In classical mythology, this fierce monster with a human body and a bull's head was trapped in a labyrinth by the king of Crete until it was slain by the Athenian prince Theseus. The Minotaur was a potent symbol for the Surrealists, an important group of artists in the 1930s, for whom the creature suggested irrational, unconscious impulses. The Minotaur assumes many guises in the Vollard Suite, reflecting many aspects of Picasso's complex personality. Alternately violent and tender, a carouser and a lusty lover, the Minotaur is also pictured wounded and dying. Unhappy with his wife, dancer Olga Koklova, in 1927 Picasso met the beautiful Marie-Thérèse Walter. In Minotaur Caressing a Sleeping Woman, one of the most emotional, tender prints in the Vollard Suite, Picasso, the ardent Minotaur, expresses love and passion for his radiant young mistress.

See also
PR - Drypoint
Type of artwork: 

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