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Prints and Drawings
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Artist: Pablo Picasso, Spanish, active France, 1881–1973

Table des eaux-fortes (Table of Etchings), plate 13 from Honoré de Balzac’s Le chef-d’oeuvre inconnu (The Unknown Masterpiece)

July 4, 1931


platemark: 27.5 × 19.7 cm (10 13/16 × 7 3/4 in.)
sheet: 32.5 × 25.5 cm (12 13/16 × 10 1/16 in.)
Everett V. Meeks, B.A. 1901, Fund
In addition to his twelve etchings for Ambroise Vollard’s publication of Balzac’s Le chef-d’oeuvre inconnu, Picasso also provided a pictorial table of contents at the end of the book. Etched in 1931 as an avis au relieur, or instructions for the bookbinder, this table of contents assigns numbers to schematic renderings of the etchings commissioned for the book. In practical terms, the avis was meant to guide the binder in placing each etching in its correct order. This idea originated with Vollard, who wanted to ensure that the images would progress according to the logic of Balzac’s text. Picasso’s pictorial avis, however, does not correspond to Balzac or Vollard’s order. It develops independently, telling a different story with a mind, and a hand, of its own.
Made in France
20th century
Works on Paper - Prints

Susan Greenberg Fisher et al., Picasso and the Allure of Language, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2009), 58–59, 99, 104–11, 185, no. 12, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.