The Vollard Suite, created between 1930-37, was named after it publisher, the French art dealer, Ambroise Vollard.
The 100 Vollard Suite images are generally categorized by themes: The Battle of Love, The Sculptor’s Studio, Rembrandt, The Minotaur and The Blind Minotaur,and the Portraits of Vollard. The remaining 27 images deal with various themes such as women dressing and women sleeping, the circus, bullfight, and love. Despite superficial differences, an underlying unity of tone and Picasso’s preoccupation with neo-classical and classical subjects lends homogeneity and consistency to the series that is clearly evident when viewed in its’ entirety. In 1933 Picasso officially lived with his wife, Olga, in Paris. While his marriage deteriorated, his relationship with Marie-Thérèse blossomed. The young muse became a constant theme in his paintings and other art in the 30s. Marie-Thérèse was the lover who inspired Picasso in the classical look of the Vollard Suite, and as Picasso abandoned its subjects and its style, he abandoned her too, as he focused elsewhere in matters both of art and love.
The 347 Series
The “347 Series” was, in printmaking, the undertaking which defined late Picasso. This prodigious outpouring of work, dating from March 16th–October 5th, 1968, deals with all of his old themes and fantasies, adding an obsession newly central in the late 60s, the artist as voyeur. It is in this role, rather than that of a protagonist, that the artist figures in these fantastic narrations. The circus was one of Picasso’s first subjects in printmaking. The Saltimbanque series of 1904-5 depicted the strolling acrobats and players who for centuries had drifted around Paris and the French countryside. Here, many years later, the circus is resurrected as a metaphor for life.
Through the end Picasso makes a tour de force – three hundred and forty-seven engravings are produced: complex constructions on varied and interrelated subjects, such as ‘circuses’, ‘bullfights’, ‘Commedia dell’Arte’, and ‘Spanish literature’. Series culminates in a group of erotic scenes of lovemaking – explicit but full of humor. In order to be able to work with full freedom and concentration, Picasso had his printers, the brothers Crommelynck, bring the etching plates and hand press to his house to Mougins, near Cannes.