Interpretive Resource

Turning the Pages: Presentation copy of Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Le Chef d'oeuvre inconnu (The Unknown Masterpiece), 1931

Pablo Picasso's The Unknown Masterpiece is an exuberantly illustrated rendition of Honoré de Balzac's nineteenth-century short story about the power and potential tragedy of artistic creation. Picasso drew numerous extra drawings in the margins and over existing prints to embellish this dedication copy for his publisher Henri Matarasso. In some cases, the wood engravings have become unrecognizable as the artist's flourish of color overwhelms the original image.

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