• Picasso and Books
  • Picasso and books. Bancaja Collection
  • Picasso and books. Bancaja Collection
Picasso and Books


Es Baluard Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma presents the exhibition "Picasso and the books. Bancaja Collection" in collaboration with Bancaja.

Produced by Bancaja brings together 108 illustrations and 25 books by various authors illustrated by Picasso, with techniques ranging from chalcographic engraving, lino printing and lithography, to photoengraving and offset printing. Some of these books are luxury editions accompanied by folders full of engravings, which are displayed framed in the exhibition. All the works come from the Bancaja collection. Bancaja is a body that has the largest collection of Picasso’s graphic work assembled by a private institution.

The illustrated work of Pablo Ruiz Picasso (Malaga, 1881 – Mougins, France, 1973) is little known by the general public, since in the majority of cases these are bibliophile editions intended for a very restricted circle of collectors. Throughout his career the artist genius illustrated books by a wide range of authors, from the Greek classics to his own contemporaries, either working under commission from powerful publishers or selflessly for particular friends of his.

Curated by Juan Carrete Parrondo, the exhibition offers the possibility of getting to know a quite unusual facet of Picasso’s extensive creative output. His relationship to the world of literature was a very prolific one, and often, rather than merely illustrating a book, Picasso produced what was nothing less than a parallel creation to the literary text.

The earliest work in the exhibition is the book Clair de terre by André Breton published in 1923, which includes a chalcographic illustration with a portrait of Breton himself. His relationship with poets is highly significant and is very well represented: poets from the past, such as the beautiful book Vingt poèmes de Luis de Góngora (1948) with 41 illustrations, and the painstaking edition of Cinq sonnets de Pétrarque (1947); or poets of his own time, such as Raymond Radiguet, Antonin Artaud and very especially, Tristan Tzara, of whom the exhibition includes three magnificent illustrated books: De mémoire d’homme (1950), A haute flamme (1955) and L’escalier de Flore (1958).

Also worth highlighting among the books on show is the extraordinary book La tauromaquia o El arte de torear by José Delgado, alias Pepe Illo, published by Gustavo Gili in 1959 with 26 aquatints; the renowned Sueño y mentira de Franco with a text by Picasso himself and etchings in the form of comic vignettes, in which the artist satirises the dictator virulently. The sale of this book in 1937 helped to finance the Spanish Republic´s support fund.

Also well worth mentioning are the etchings that illustrate Le chef-d’oeuvre inconnu by Honoré de Balzac, the series of illustrations that accompany Buffon’s texts, the 6 lithographs from the book Dans l’atelier de Picasso written by his great friend and secretary Jaime Sabartés, and the beautiful edition of Le Carmen des Carmen inspired by the story Carmen by Prosper Merimée.

This exhibition, presented by Es Baluard Museu d'Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma and Bancaja, aims to be part of the celebration of the 125th anniversary of Pablo Ruiz Picasso’s birth, thereby contributing to remembering one of the leading figures of the history of art in the 20th century. The Es Baluard collection includes various works by the Malaga-born genius, especially the set of 41 ceramic pieces and the canvas Nu couché et homme à la guitare painted in 1972, one year before the artist’s death.

Location – Hall: Planta -1
Production: Es Baluard Museu d'Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma

28th October 2006 → 7th January 2007
Curator: Juan Carrete Parrondo