Le Chef-d’oeuvre inconnu.
Large in-4º. Jansenist binding by P.L. Martin, full brown morocco under a brown half morocco folder and slipcase, smooth spine, title in gilt letters on the spine of the volume and folder, lining and endpapers in light beige suede, gilt edges, cover in Montval laid paper, with the title and a vignette in black, different on each plate drawn by Picasso and engraved by Aubert.
Illustrated with 20 reproductions of drawings by Picasso executed in 1924 and 1926 on the theme of the guitar, 67 woodcuts by Aubert after Picasso's drawings, and 13 original etchings [the thirteenth plate at the end of the volume called "Table des eaux-fortes" (G & C20)].
Balzac's text was collated by Marcel Bouteron on the last revised state in Balzac's hand, and on his own copy. Balzac expressed in this work, his conception of art and the artist, in particular in painting, the search for perfection of the work and the relationship between the painter and his model. Picasso's engravings are not a linear illustration of the text but a reflection of his own concerns in the relationship, more or less conflicting, of the painter with his model. A great master of engraving, Pablo Picasso produced several series of etchings in the 1930s that are now considered to be among the most important works in the history of engraving. Among them, this series executed in 1931 at the request of the famous art dealer, Ambroise Vollard, to illustrate the famous work of Balzac, The Unknown Masterpiece.
Edition : 65 with suite on Rives of the etchings + 240 + XXXV H.C. One of 65 copies on vellum of Rives, numbered, complete with the suite. Limited edition of 340 copies, this one of the 65 OUT OF STOCK copies, numbered I, signed by Picasso on the receipt. Copy in excellent condition. Carteret Illustrés IV, 51; Goeppert-Cramer 20.