This last April the exhibition “Pablo Picasso: La Tauromàquia (Tauromachy)” was inaugurated at the Fundació Suñol. The exhibition presents the edition of the book, belonging to its own collection, that reproduces the manual La tauromaquia o arte de torear (Tauromachy or the art of bullfighting) by the bullfighter from the 18th century José Delgado (alias Pepe Illo) subsequently illustrated by Picasso with 26 aquatints on the inside and a drypoint on the cover.
Pablo Picasso. Tauromachy, 1959. The Goring
The book was published in 1959 by Gustau Gili, within his collection Ediciones de la Cometa, that evolved in parallel to the history of Picasso with Gili, which you can find information about in the exhibition “The Museu Picasso, 50 years in Barcelona”.
In the museum we have also had a long relationship with this work, of which we have an edition. Among others, we have held a travelling exhibition about bullfighting “Picasso. Bullfighting. Works from the collection of the Museu Picasso, Barcelona” that was in Tel Aviv until 2012.
The same publisher as Gustau Gili’s donated to the collection of the museum in 1960 the copy number 158/250 of the book, the 26 annulled copper plates corresponding to the aquatints and a print run of proofs of the aquatints.
Pablo Picasso. Bullfighting, 1959. Los cabestros retiran al toro manso (The oxen take away the tame bull) | Pablo Picasso | Pablo Picasso. Bullfighting, 1959. Salto con la garrocha (Jumping with the pole)
The artist’s passion for bulls began during his childhood, and in a recurring way we can find in the work of Picasso numerous references to the bullfighting ritual and various illustrated books. Among these, we highlight:
· Carmen des Carmen by Prosper Mérimeé, from 1964
· A los toros con Picasso (To the bulls with Picasso) with presentation text by Jaume Sabartés, from 1961
· Carnet de la tauromáquia (Bullfighting sketchbook) with text by José Delgado, from 1936
· Toros y toreros (Bulls and bullfighters) by Luis Miguel Dominguín, from 1961
All these books and others also illustrated by Picasso can be consulted in the reasoned catalogue of illustrated books Pablo Picasso. Catalogue raisonné des livres illustrés published in Geneva in 1983 by the publisher Patrick Cramer. This catalogue, along with diverse information about the illustrated books can be consulted in the library of the museum.