PICASSO 347 by Pablo Picasso
Suite 347 was executed by Pablo Picasso at high speed in period of less than seven months; 347 works were completed in 200 days, from 16th March to 5th October 1968, when the artist entered his 87th year. A major effort and a unique series using all the copper graphic’s different techniques. Suite 347 plays a central role in the history of graphic art. In many ways it’s Picasso’s own life and art that he presents in Suite 347. In many of the prints we find self-portraits, where he as an old man is filled with sadness contemplating life, often with a dose of humour, and the whole series exposes a creativity beyond comparison. Picasso shows his love to the woman, to women, but never without at the same time referring to the history of art, to the creation of art and to the contemplation of art. In this way the work is about more than the motif, it is about art itself. Suite 347 is not a coherent series by either theme or motif. As with most of Picasso’s works these prints are acutely self-biographical and they collectively display a retrospective view of his life and work. At first sight, the suite seems like a cacophony of techniques, dimensions and expressions, yet upon closer inspection, certain motifs stand out and constitute smaller and larger series within the whole. The works are mounted almost chronologically, with each work numbered in Picasso’s own order; he never gave the works titles. Here we find everything from the most painstakingly worked aquatints and mezzotints, to the simplest line engravings. The first 20 prints in Suite 347 constitute an overture in which of all the forthcoming performers literally make their entrance: scenes from circus and clown life, often with the artist present, rendered in a variety of costumes and ages. Most dominant, as in the rest of the series, is the motif of the artist and his model. The model always young and beautiful, while the artist is often presented in the role of the clown.