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Picasso: The Vollard Suite

June 8–August 25, 1991

This exhibition presents one hundred of the most powerful and important prints Picasso created during the 1930s. In 1931, Ambroise Vollard, the great Parisian art dealer and publisher, persuaded Picasso to exchange the etched plates for this Suite for certain paintings that the artist wanted for his own collection. Although it is not known precisely how the selection of plates for the Vollard Suite was made, it is likely that the two men made the decisions together, probably in 1937, with the understanding that the prints were to be published by Vollard. Traditionally, the Vollard Suite has been divided into seven categories based on theme: 5 sheets on the Battle of Love; 4 sheets on Rembrandt; 46 sheets on the Sculptor in his Studio; 15 sheets on the Minotaur; 27 prints that treat miscellaneous themes; and 3 portraits of Vollard, added to the suite in 1937, after the other plates had been executed and selected. Although many prints from other editions of the Vollard Suite were sold individually rather than as a complete set, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is fortunate to own the entire group of 100 prints. The first 97 were purchased in 1950; the three portraits of Vollard were subsequently purchased in 1969.

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