Picasso was introduced to printmaking through the Parisian ateliers of Eugene Delâtre, Louis Fort and Roger Lacourière. It was in their studios that he developed a talent first for etching, which involves covering a copper plate in wax and incising the surface with a needle before submerging it in an acid bath, producing a design where the metal is exposed.

Having easily mastered etching, Picasso next turned to aquatint, a process by which colourful effects are created through the use of a fine acid-resistant powder, allowing the artist to achieve strong contrasts. He used the method of sugar-lift aquatint to create atmospheric works such as Sueño y mentira de Franco (Planche II) (Lot 9).

Picasso later discovered lithography, a process by which the artist draws directly onto a stone or plate with a greasy crayon, which is then chemically affixed to a surface. His lithographs demonstrate his excellent command of lithographic inks and include the delicate Balzac (Lot 20), consisting of linear strokes, and the atmospheric Nature morte au compotier (Lot 17), a more painterly approach.

PABLO PICASSO | LES TROIS GRÂCES – Source: Sotheby’s.com

It wasn’t until the ripe age of 78 that Picasso learned the technique of linoleum printing, initially turning to the method out of necessity following his move to Cannes. Now living far away from his printers in Paris, the artist didn’t have time to wait for them to receive his copperplates and complete the printing themselves. Instead, he taught himself to work with linoleum blocks, creating exhibition posters and developing his own technique known as linogravures rincées. Rather than gouging out contours on linoleum blocks, Picasso developed a way of hollowing out the surfaces, creating images in “negative”. The resulting works are considered some of his best in, and Sotheby’s is offering an excellent example of this inventive technique: Femmes à leur toilette (Lots 27-29).

Open for bidding from 20 – 27 March, Prints from the Collection of Marina Picasso Online includes works spanning 40 years and illustrating a diverse array of subjects. Each print boasts impeccable provenance, having descended from the artist to his granddaughter, Marina Picasso. Low estimates range from £100 to £8,000, making this the ideal sale for both first-time and established collectors.