The shared


26.10.17 - 28.01.18
This exhibition explores the ‘printmaking connection’ uniting four artists from the same family: Picasso, J. Fín, Vilató and Xavier. They all made printmaking an essential part of their work, sharing a taste for the different techniques, but also for the time those techniques required.

Time changes for the artist who makes engravings, lithographs and linocuts. He must leave his studio to go work with someone else. He must wait for the time that the technique requires to do his work. Finally, he has to wait for the artisan with whom he works in the studio to finish printing. Unique and singular works arose from these partnerships that would have been impossible without this pas de deux.

In 1939, J. Fín and Vilató were Spanish political refugees stranded on the beach of Argelès after the disaster of the Spanish Civil War. Their uncle Picasso took them from the camp in Argelès and brought them back to Paris with him. They spent several months there, before the outbreak of the Second World War. During their stay, Picasso brought them to the Lacourière studio, which is where the two young artists discovered the intaglio technique, which they would practice steadfastly. Each created his first engraving there. Only Vilató’s engraving is known today (of which only a single proof exists, presented here), as Fín’s has been lost. This taste for printmaking, for the time shared and for these masterful artisans’ savoir-faire was passed down to Xavier, the son of Vilató and representative of the third generation of this family of artists.


  • In the Lacourière-Frélaut studio

    The Lacourière-Frélaut studio is where the history of this exhibition begins. It was not the first studio where Picasso made engravings, but it was where he brought his nephews Fín and Vilató in 1939 in order to initiate them into engraving. The Lacourière-Frélaut studio was also where Vilató brought his son Xavier to get him started on engraving as well.

    Though it no longer exists today, several generations of artists still consider the Lacourière-Frélaut studio to be the temple of engraving in Paris, a legendary place where true masterpieces were created. The work of the four artists presented here were all produced or printed in the Lacourière-Frélaut studio.

    Picture credits:
    Jacques Frélaut. Paris, c. 1950
    Gelatin-silver prints
    Private Collection

  • Fín’s engravings

    Although it is hard to ascertain exactly where Fín engraved his plates, we know that the editions were printed in the Lacourière-Frélaut studio.

    Indeed, we know that Fín often engraved in his studio in La Ruche, or in his home or the home of his brother Vilató. Here we discover the virtuosity and the richness of Fín’s engraving technique. Alternately in reserve or with a delicate line, he would work on a plate until he could do no more, using the stroke, aquatint and scrapers, and returning to it constantly.

    Picture credits:
    Francesc Mèlich. Barcelona, 19 September 1945
    J. Fín at de Francesc Mèlich’s studio
    Gelatin-silver prints
    Arxiu Foto Mèlich, Barcelona

  • Vilató’s engravings

    Vilató shows a profound mastery of the different engraving techniques and presents us with achingly delicate plates where time seems to have stopped. An outstanding printer, Vilató liked to engrave alone and went to the studio only to oversee the print run. He also liked to print himself, and printed many of his own prints personally.

    Picture credits:
    Paris, 1955
    Vilató at his studio in rue Édouard Jacques
    Gelatin-silver prints
    Archives J. Vilató, Paris

  • Xavier’s engravings

    Xavier began engraving when he was very young and soon started in the Lacourière-Frélaut studio. He explored the different techniques very early on, and thanks to his family’s instruction and the virtuosity of the printers put in his service, he left us a very large and dense body of work. True moments of familiar and imagined worlds, or special times in the studio, either alone with his work or with the studio printers.

    Picture credits:
    Paris, 1993
    Xavier at Frank Bordas’s studio
    Gelatin-silver prints
    © Pierre Berna

  • The shared studio

    Work in a studio is above all a story of sharing. Artists and artisans share time, knowledge and a place. They also share with the past, with history, with a technique, with men and women who print and work with them in creating a multifarious and unique work. Here we would like to tell two stories of sharing. The first took place in Barcelona and the second in Paris.

    In Barcelona...

    In September 1939, France entered into war against Germany. Fín and Vilató were forced to go back to Spain. After several years of compulsory and punitive military service, Fín and Vilató met with their friend from the front Francesc Mèlich in Barcelona. Already working at a printing press, they persuaded Mèlich to open an engraving studio. This studio, where the brothers shared their passion for intaglio with other artists, became a point of reference in Barcelona, and it was there that Fín developed one of his signature series: Los Mathxullamas, a very rich personal universe with a name and cosmogony whose meaning was known only to him, as was also the case with the later El Fafarreo.

    In Paris...

    In 1950, now back in Paris, Vilató spotted an old press for sale in the flea market in Montreuil. Picasso gave him the money he needed to buy it. From then on, Vilató could work as and when he pleased and pull test prints himself. Picasso went to Vilató’s studio to pull test prints and they dedicated their proofs to each other. The studio became a place for intimate sharing, with printmaking turned into a way of exchanging affection and respect. In 1951, Picasso had an affair with Geneviève Laporte and the engravings that he made of his young mistress, which he had to hide from his companion Françoise, were pulled in Vilató’s studio. The studio was also a place of shared secrets. The family tradition thereby forged over the years became established and the entire family exchanged and dedicated their proofs to each other.

  • Homage to the printmaker

    In this section, we would like to pay a special tribute to the printers: virtuosos of their craft, absolute enthusiasts and humble magicians.

    This selection of works shows the immense diversity of the possibilities of printmaking and how genuine masterpieces were created thanks to a successful partnership between an artist and a printer. May they all be honoured and thanked here.

    Picture credits:
    Lucien Clergue
    Picasso and the brothers Crommelynck
    Gelatin-silver prints
    Museu Picasso, Barcelona © Atelier Lucien Clergue


Engraving as a family legacy

Thursday, October 26th 2017, 7.00pm

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Xavier between stones and poles

Master class in engraving, given by the artist Xavier

Thursday, November 23rd 2017, 7.00pm

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One original and many copies

Family workshop

Saturdays November 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th at 5.00pm

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Guided visit to the exhibition

Saturdays 4th & 18th November, 2nd, 16th & 30th December, 13rd & 27th January

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  • The shared studio. Picasso, Fín, Vilató, Xavier

    With the organisation of the exhibition «The shared workshop», the Museu Picasso links once again the work of the artist with other members of his family: his nephews J. Fín and Vilató and the son of the latter, Xavier.

    J. Fín and Vilató grew up surrounded by art, and their uncle, a permanently present figure, helped them to channel their creative vocation, accompanying them in their initiation into the world of engraving and prints. The catalogue that accompanies the exhibition takes as its main axis the unknown world of the printing workshops in which the four artists worked, especially in Lacourière-Frelaut in Paris. The printing craftsmen of the French capital and also of Barcelona, are the authentic protagonists of this story. By means of their mastery we are able to discover the personality and peculiarities of the printed work of each of the artists of the Picasso family and how they were helped to develop their talent. The pages of this book give evidence of the love that all of them, artists and craftsmen, felt for printing, in any of their multiple manifestations, and the profound complicity that was established between them.

  • Authors: Marta-Volga de Minteguiaga-Guezala, Eduard Vallès, Cécile Pocheau Lesteven
    Year: 2017
    Pages: 224
    Languages: Catalan/English, Castilian/French
    Size: 28 x 24 cm
    Publisher: Fundació Museu Picasso de Barcelona
    Price: €34

  • ISBN
    Catalan/English 978-84-947539-5-4
    Castilian/French 978-84-947539-4-7

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