Atelier Mourlot and their famous artists Pablo Picasso and Maurice Utrillo
Good things come to those who wait. Or are made by those who waited.
As one of the most famous and richest artists of all times, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) only started making graphic art when he was 64 years old. He consulted his good friend and master lithographer Fernand Mourlot to teach him.
Atelier Mourlot at the time worked with renowned artists like Joan Miró, Marc Chagall and Marino Marini. Asked by Mourlot how many assistants Picasso needed his answer was “None. I’ll do everything myself!”. He stunned the lithographers with his experiments on the limographic stone, experiments they themselves thought to be impossible.
In 2017, this lithograph by Pablo Picasso is 70 years old: ‘Grand Profil – Portrait de Francoise Gilot’.
Françoise was an artist herself but better known as a mistress, wife and the artistic muse of Picasso. When they met Françoise was 21, 40 years younger than Picasso. Gilot and Picasso had two children, Claude and Paloma, but despite the attractive work Picasso created of and for her, their life together wasn’t as happy.
When they finally broke up in 1953, after years of being harassed by both Picasso and his ex Olga Khokhlova, he commanded all the art dealers he knew not to buy her work. Picasso, being a phenomenon at the time, got what he wanted and according to many this actions cut Gilot’s career short.
This original lithograph was signed on April 2, 1947; just 2 months before Claude was born which means that Françoise would have been heavily pregnant at the time, something that doesn’t show on the image. Done with pen, crayon and black ink at the studio of Mourlot in Paris and is for sale through Van der Vorst Grafiek.
Pablo Picasso – ‘Grand Profil – Portrait de Francoise Gilot’ (1947)
Atelier Mourlot was founded in 1852 by the Mourlot family in Paris. In the 1920s onwards Fernand, a grandson of the pater familias Francois Mourlot, converted one of the locations to a studio dedicated to fine art lithography.
The production of fine art lithography drew many artists to the studio including Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955). Utrillo was one of the few painters that actually grew up in Montmartre, Paris. A French painter specialised in cityscapes, Maurice Utrillo was the son of Suzanne Valadon. Only 2 years older than Picasso, Utrillo died a few years after Picasso arrived at Mourlot.
‘La Tour Eiffel’ (1955) (left) and ‘Le Sacre Coeur’ (1955) (right) – Maurice Utrillo
Interested in learning more about graphic work and print? Read our interview with Hans den Hollander here.