Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) was one of the most influential, prolific, and discussed artists of the 20th century.
Although best known as a painter, sculptor, and printmaker, he was also one of the most, if not the most, productive collaborator on and creator of artists’ books, also sometimes called livres d’artiste.
Picasso’s role in the creation of books varied. For some titles, he created illustrations to complement the text; in others, he pulled illustrations from his earlier work. Most frequently, Picasso worked with friends, either by illustrating their books, by drawing their portraits as frontispieces, or by working for those that were publishers to help launch a new project. He was such an important commodity for most of his career that he could pick and choose his endeavors, and despite the myriad ventures that were certainly denied, he still managed to create 156 illustrated books and countless other illustrations for magazines and other ephemera.
The types of illustrated publications ranged from editions of classic literature by authors such as Balzac and Ovid to volumes of surrealist poetry to cultural journals such as Minotaure and Verve. The wide assortment is a reflection of Picasso’s inexhaustible creativity and many interests.
The standard catalog of Picasso’s work in books is Sebastian Goeppert et al., Pablo Picasso: The Illustrated Books: Catalogue Raisonné (Geneva: Patrick Cramer, 1963).
Cover for the first issue of Minotaure, 1933, designed by Picasso. The Art Institute of Chicago, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries.
11 hours 55 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago CLOSING SOON—Supernatural Shakespeare
While Shakespeare’s title characters might have the most name recognition, the Bard’s meddling witches and mischievous faerie folk often steal the show. See this focused installation before it closes October 10.
15 hours 14 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago THURSDAY at 6:00—Join us for a tour of works in our collection presented in American Sign Language with voice interpretation.
1 day 12 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Humanism + Dynamite = The Soviet Photomontages of Aleksandr Zhitomirsky
The first exhibition in the post-Soviet world devoted to leading political artist Aleksandr Zhitomirsky offers a captivating portrayal of a satirist and loyal citizen who inventively furthered his country’s official causes across a tumultuous half-century.