The Weeping Woman, I, a monumental 1937 etching in its seventh state, is one of Pablo Picasso’s greatest achievements in printmaking and perhaps in any medium. This is tied not only to its large size—unusual for an etching—but also to the fact that the artist strengthened the elaborate composition through seven separate stages, or states. An icon of catastrophic suffering, it reprises one of the central figures in Picasso's famous mural-size painting Guernica, made earlier the same year after the Basque town of Guernica, in northern Spain, was bombed at the behest of Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War. The image also refers to the Surrealist photographer Dora Maar, known for her glossy black hair and tapered fingernails, with whom Picasso had a tempestuous relationship.
Gallery label from New to the Print Collection: Matisse to Bourgeois, June 13, 2012–January 7, 2013.