The suite of 100 etchings is named for the illustrious art dealer who commissioned it, Ambroise Vollard.
Although created by Picasso from 1930-37, the series was not published for many years because of the interruptions caused by the Spanish Civil War, Vollard’s untimely death in a car crash in 1939 and then the outbreak of the Second World War. In fact, they did not appear on the open market until the 1950s.
The 100 etchings are primarily graphic representations of raw and contrasting emotions such ecstasy and cruelty. At times slightly nightmarish, the subjects of the etchings were influenced by the artist’s tumultuous affair with Marie-Thèrèse Walter as well as the darkening political climate of the day.
The prints at this Shrewsbury auction that closed on October 25 were consigned from a deceased estate and were both from the same edition of 260 dated to 1934. They had the Vollard watermark and were signed to the bottom right. Both were estimated at £2000-4000 but they sold to separate dealers in the US and UK.
Taureau ailé Contemplé par Quatre Enfants (Winged Bull Watched by Four Children) had some signs of ageing and browning around the edges but the etching was in overall good condition without any tears or signs of creasing. It sold at £7500.
Femme Torero II, an image that features Picasso’s mistress Marie- Thérèse and appears at auction more frequently, sold at £4800.
Elsewhere at the Shropshire sale, a painting of a back garden in Chiswick, west London, by Alfred Heyworth (1926-76) which had formerly been in the collection of Shrewsbury School sold at a mid-estimate £2000. It was bought by a UK private collector.
The 4ft x 6ft 1in (1.23 x 1.85m) signed oil on board had been purchased from the artist’s Chiswick studio in the late 1970s and was one of the largest and most keenly observed pictures to have emerged by the artist, who was a member of the Royal Watercolour Society and the New English Art Club. The price appears to be an auction record.