Pablo PICASSORoger LACOURIÉRE, Femme torero. [Female bullfighter.] Enlarge 1 /1


Spain 1881 – France 1973


France 1892 – 1966


Femme torero. [Female bullfighter.] [Femme torero II (Female bullfighter II): from The Vollard Suite [SV no. 22]] 20 June 1934
Collection Title: from the Vollard Suite (22)
Place made: Paris, Île-de-France, France
Materials & Technique: prints, intaglio etching, printed in black ink. Support: handmade Montval laid paper.
Edition: from the edition of 260 printed on small handmade Montval paper

Edition Notes: total edition of 313; this set is from the edition of 260 printed on small handmade Montval paper (approx. 445 x 340mm); a set of 50 printed on large hand made Motval paper (approx. 445 x 340 mm) and three sets printed on vellum. 100 plates purchased by publisher Amboise Vollard (1866-1939), printed by Roger Lacouriére, printing completed in 1939. following Vollards death, his print stock was purchased by Henri Petiet (1894-1980). Petiet purcahsed all the sets of 97 impressions of the Vollard Suite- all except for the three portraits of Vollard, which were sold to Marcel Lecomte. Petiet negotiated the purchase of these prints from Lecomte in order to make up the full set of 100 prints. from the early 1950s, Petiet began distributing the Vollard Suite on the market, as both cpmplete sets and as individual prints.
Primary Insc: signed l.r. "Picasso"
Dimensions: plate 29.7 h x 23.8 w cm sheet 44.6 h x 33.8 w cm
Cat Raisonné: SV22; Bloch 220; ; Baer 426B
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1984
Accession No: NGA 84.552.22
Image rights: © Pablo Picasso/Succession Picasso. Licensed by Viscopy

The National Gallery of Australia is fortunate to own a complete set of 100 etchings, engravings and aquatints from the 1930s known as the Vollard Suite and made by the incomparable twentieth-century artist, Pablo Picasso. It is named after Ambroise Vollard, his sometime art dealer and publisher. The suite contains many themes that were close to Picasso’s heart: dominating are the classically derived subjects of the Minotaur (the irrational half man–half beast) and Pygmalion (the artist obsessed by his model); as well as the bullfight.

In this series, Picasso explored legends depicting mythic themes of love and bestiality, in all kinds of mutations: the figure of the bullfighter may be either male or female; the bull, the horse or the Minatour may appear in the ring of a bullfight, or in related scenes of erotica or acts of rape and carnage. For this composition, Picasso depicts a naked female toreador lying slain on the back of a bull, her terrified horse rearing up over her. The composition is brutal and the frenetic etched marks and cross-hatching evoke darkness and dread. Yet in the midst of the fray, as if lit from above, the beautiful young bullfighter is shown in classical profile, at peace, using spare, delicate lines.

By chance, in 1927, Picasso met a young woman, Marie-Thérèse Walter, outside the department store of Galerie Lafayette. He was immediately taken with her physical appearance and her pronounced classical profile. She became both lover and inspiration for Picasso’s art and appears in many of the images of the Vollard Suite including this female bullfighter.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2014
From: Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2014