Avant la Pique | Before the Lance
- Original hand signed and numbered linocut in colours on Arches wove paper
- Hand signed in pencil by the artist “Picasso” and hand numbered in pencil "44/50"
- Printed by Hidalgo Arnéra in Vallauris and published by the Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris in 1959
- Another impression of this edition is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
Picasso had moved to the South of France with his second wife Jacqueline Roque in 1955, at the age of 78. Far from the printshops of Mourlot and Frélaut in Paris, he began to make linocuts with the printer Hidalgo Arnéra in Vallauris. He experimented with the printing methods, from the physical carving and inking of the plates to the chemical makeup of the inks, and created about 200 linocuts in this period. Arnéra was an involved collaborator in Picasso’s experimentation. Frustrated by the technical limitations of traditional colour relief printing, Picasso, invented his own 'reductive' method. While he had occasionally used the linocut technique before to a limited extent, his previous efforts essentially mimicked the woodcut. As he worked with Arnéra, however, he developed the medium to its full expressive potential, using methods as unique as sanding the plate for texture and wetting an inked sheet under the shower to achieve particular textural effects. His innovative linocut technique allowed Picasso to work with fluidity to realise his unique creative vision.