Jour de l' An
Jour de l' An (Bloch 788)

1956 (January 1, Cannes)

Drypoint printed on ancient laid paper  
One of four artist's proofs
Signed by the artist in pencil, lower right
Inscribed "Bon à Tirer/le 30.10.60" in pencil, lower right; "788, 1961/12" and other notations, in pencil
Henri M. Petiet "H.M.P" Collection stamp, lower right verso
Printed by Frélaut, 1960
Image: 6 7/8 x 10 3/4 inches
Sheet: 10 x 15 1/4 inches
Framed: 19 1/2 x 22 1/2 inches
(Bloch 788) (Baer 953.B.a)

Jour de l’an, or New Year’s Day, is one of several prints that Picasso created during the 1950s portraying the theme of family harmony. Similar to earlier images of the decade depicting his youngest children, Claude and Paloma, at play with their mother Françoise Gilot, Jour de l’an depicts all four of the artist’s children (by three different women), united under the care his new lover Jacqueline Roque. Jacqueline, in the upper left corner of the image, is immediately recognizable by her large, brilliant dark eyes and famous profile, shown here in a three-quarter view. She appears to be helping Maya, his second child, in an activity of some sort. The daughter of Picasso’s mistress from 1927 to 1936, Marie-Thérèse Walter, Maya is clearly identifiable from her tousled curly hair; Picasso has introduced a degree of fantasy by reducing her age, so that although at this point she would have been nearly twenty years old, she appears a much younger girl sitting next to Jacqueline. Similarly, the boy next to her—in the centre of the image—has the features of Paulo, Picasso’s first child by his Russian wife Olga Khokhlova; however, Paulo would have been thirty-four when this print was created—a mature adult, with children of his own, Pablito and Marina, therefore, the boy could also be a portrait of the artist’s grandson (who was born in 1949, the same year as Paloma). The two children on the right side of the image are Paloma and Claude (born 1947), the only two whose ages in Picasso’s depiction appear to correspond to reality. They, like the boy beside them, are absorbed in drawing or painting—a favorite occupation of these progeny of a great draughtsman, who took great delight in teaching them his skill. All the protagonists of this composition have bowed heads and downcast eyes, indicating their intent focus on their creative activities and their lack of awareness of the presence of their father (and Jacqueline’s lover), and his affectionate but analytical gaze.

Two impressions of Jour de l’an were printed in 1956. This impression is one of four artist’s proofs printed on ancient laid paper by Frélaut in 1960; it is signed lower right, in pencil, and annotated ‘Bon à Tirer/le 30.10.60’ at the lower right, in pencil. Deriving from the Henri M. Petiet Collection, it has the Henri M. Petiet ‘H.M.P’ Collection stamp on the verso at the lower right. Although it was printed as a drypoint, Baer notes that the plate was initially worked as an eau-forte: the burin penetrated the varnish and marked the copper plate directly. However as the varnish was in very poor condition, it was removed before immersion in acid, resulting in a drypoint printing.