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Artist: Pablo Picasso, Spanish, active France, 1881–1973
Author: Michel Leiris

balzacs en bas de casse et picassos sans majuscule (balzacs in lower case and picassos without capitals)

1952, published 1957

Portfolio of 8 transfer lithographs with one page of text

sheet: 34.3 × 26 cm (13 1/2 × 10 1/4 in.)
The Ernest C. Steefel Collection of Graphic Art, Gift of Ernest C. Steefel
1958.52.174.1-.9
In 1952 Picasso created a series of lithographic portraits of the French writer Honoré de Balzac, best known for his Comédie humaine. In 1957 Galerie Louise Leiris published eight of these lithographs, along with an introductory essay by the French Surrealist Michel Leiris. In his essay, Leiris consid¬ered how Picasso’s identity was at once suspended and fractured in multiple parts. Picasso’s portraits of Balzac likewise create not a single, unified Balzac, but a series of balzacs. Across the series, the viewer is compelled to both look and read, as let¬ters and numbers proliferate in the portraits.
Geography: 
Made in France
Status: 
By appointment
Culture: 
Spanish
Period: 
20th century
Classification: 
Books
Bibliography: 

Susan Greenberg Fisher et al., Picasso and the Allure of Language, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2009), 12, 142, 161n.22, 204–5, 209–17, 218, no. 28, pls.1, 3–8, 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.