Art Talk: Demonstrating Picasso’s Reduction Linocut Technique

December 1, 2021
Index Magazine

Art Talk: Demonstrating Picasso’s Reduction Linocut Technique

Conservator and printmaker Christina Taylor demonstrates the reduction linocut printing technique pioneered by artist Pablo Picasso and master printer Hidalgo Arnéra to create the vibrant print Jacqueline with Glossy Hair (1962). Taking us into her printmaking studio, Taylor unveils the layers of creative revision, correction, and adjustment behind the finished print. 

Central to this process is the concept of a “print state,” which traditionally refers to a version of a print that precedes the final product. By tracing how artists move step by step to painstakingly rework and refine their images, we can explore how artists across time have maximized the iterative potential of states, for reasons ranging from the practical to the whimsical. 

A suite of Picasso’s progressive prints of Jacqueline with Glossy Hair is on view at the Harvard Art Museums in the exhibition States of Play: Prints from Rembrandt to Delsarte, through January 2, 2022. By decoding creative choices that the artist pursued or abandoned in each successive step, the exhibition helps uncover the full breadth of experimentation and demystifies printmaking terminology and techniques.  

Led by:
Christina Taylor, Assistant Paper Conservator, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies 

Works explored: 
Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Spanish; printer Hidalgo Arnéra, Jacqueline with Glossy Hair, 1962. Linocuts on white wove paper [a series of eight proof states and the final state]. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Margaret Fisher Fund and purchase through generosity of Jeanne and Geoff Champion and Barbara K. Wheaton, 2018.308. © 2021 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.