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From the book Eaux-fortes originales pour des textes de Buffon (Histoire Naturelle), Paris, 1942
Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, Spanish, 1881 - 1973. Written by George-Louis Leclerc Comte de Buffon, French, 1707 - 1788. Plate printed by Roger Lacourière, French, 1892 - 1966. Published by Martin Fabiani, Paris.
This print is one of the thirty-one illustrations Pablo Picasso created in 1936 for a deluxe edition of excerpts from Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière (Natural History, General and Particular), written by the pioneering French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, in the eighteenth century. The array of animals represented in the book follows the tradition of medieval bestiaries—compilations of physical and allegorical descriptions of real and imaginary beasts. Picasso’s spontaneously executed, spirited characterizations of the animals in the prints he produced for Eaux-fortes originales pour des textes de Buffon (Original Etchings for Buffon’s Texts) have made the publication one of the most prized bestiaries and widely admired artist-illustrated books of the twentieth century.