Few people are aware that the British Museum has acquired, as part of its permanent collection, two unique and important sets of progressive proofs demonstrating the process of reduction lino printing invented by Picasso in the late 50s and early 60s.
The rare proofs are currently on show alongside the finished prints at the British Museum until the 6th May 2014. This is the first time an exhibition documenting the process involved in step-by-step sequence showing the cutting and printing of one lino-block to create a finished print of three or more colours has ever been shown in the UK.
Colour linocuts are usually made with a different block for each colour, but Picasso was unique in his use of a single block to achieve the same effect in what is known as the ‘reductive’ method. After printing the first colour, the lino plate is cleaned before cutting away the areas that will not be printed in the next colour. This process is repeated for the subsequent layers, until the print is complete.
As one of the most celebrated European artists in the UK, Picasso’s work has been a great influence on many contemporary artists. His graphic work played a huge part in his prolific output. The two prints on show, Still life under the Lamp and Jacqueline Reading, were both made in 1962, when Picasso was 81. They are counted amongst the artist’s most important work in this medium and demonstrate his incredible technical and creative ability.
Don’t miss an amazing opportunity to see this interesting and unique free exhibition.
The two sets of Picasso linocuts are available to view at the British museum until 6th May 2014
Photographs: sections from ‘Still life under the Lamp’ and ‘Jacqueline Reading’, ArtFund