Picasso's wartime Buffon: a very fine copy, embellished with two original drawings for his friend, the painter André Marchand

Picasso, Pablo, painter and sculptor (1881-1973). 2 full-page pen and brush drawings in Indian ink. In: Eaux-fortes originales pour des textes de Buffon.

Paris, Martin Fabiani, 1942.

Small folio (287 x 377 mm). (6), 134, (24) pp. With 31 leaves o plates (sugar aquatints, etchings and drypoints). In unbound sheets as issued, stored in publisher's original cardboard covers, portfolio and slipcase (some slight wear to the latter).


Two unique and wholly original brush drawings, adorning a signed and inscribed first edition of this famous suite by Picasso, in perfect condition.

Limited edition of 226 copies: this is number 155, one of 135 on Vidalon vélin. This copy was presented by Picasso to his friend, the painter André Marchand (1907-98), with an autograph inscription and two original drawings, each one full page. The two drawings are executed in Indian ink, pen and brush, heightened with black ink wash. They occupy the verso of the half-title bifolium and the first section title ("Le Cheval"). The first drawing shows a tomato plant in a pot, probably a reference to the still lifes for which Marchand was known. The second presents two different figures of a horse: in the upper half of the sheet, a white horse, seen in profile; in the lower half, a powerful horse's head, also in profile, against a stark dark background. Both are dated by the artist "7 August 44"; the first drawing also bears in the lower right-hand corner the signed dedication: "Pour André Marchand / Picasso".

In 1936 Ambroise Vollard commissioned illustrations by Picasso for the comte de Buffon’s 18th century encyclopedia, "Histoire naturelle". The book was published in 1942 with Picasso’s 31 prints. The delightful images of the animal kingdom, rendered with exquisite technique, must have surely brought joy to those who viewed it during the dark days of the war. Printed in a relatively small edition of 226, several copies went to friends with unique drawings such as these.

Includes an additional print of the "Mère poule" plate. Provenance: André Marchand; Jean A. Bonna (his bookplate to the portfolio's pastedown). With a certificate from Picasso's daughter Maya, dated 10 October 2002.


S. Goeppert, Picasso (1983), p. 104-107. The Artist and the Book, 231. OCLC 78845813.