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Picasso: Guitars 1912–1914

Around mid-December 1912, Picasso pinned up several groups of drawings and papiers collés with the cardboard Guitar and took at least three photographs of his arrangements, likely in a single session. Only the cardboard Guitar, a pot of glue on the bed or sofa, and a 1911 issue of L'Illustration théatrale tucked behind Guitar at upper right remain consistently positioned. This issue of the French theater journal is about a play focused on printing and is filled with cut-up, collage-style dialogue. Visible on the bed or sofa are scraps of paper and, in one print, finished works perhaps waiting to be tacked up, details that suggest the temporary nature and rapid execution of these studio displays. Guitar's position at center draws attention to its close compositional relationship to the works that surround it. The presence of the construction also afforded a yardstick of real dimensions and real shadows against which Picasso could measure his drawn and pasted works, in both the studio and in the photographs.




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