Bonne fête, Monsieur Picasso. Poster (original lithograph, Mourlot 351). Also called "Fleurs pour UCLA" / "Flowers for UCLA"
Paris: Atelier Mourlot, 1961. Pablo Picasso created this joyful bouquet of flowers in 1961 to celebrate his "bonne fête"—his 80th birthday. This original lithograph in 7 colors was commissioned by the UCLA Arts Council to accompany the exhibit of the same name at the UCLA Art Galleries in Los Angeles, California. The complete edition was 2500 copies, plus 100 signed proofs without the printing around the border. This one is unsigned. The Atelier Mourlot printed the edition in Paris. Fernand Mourlot was the author of the catalogue raisonné Picasso Lithographs (Boston Book & Art, 1970), where it is described as no. 351. It also appears as number 47 in Christoph Czwiklitzer’s (New York: Random Picasso’s Posters House, 1971) and as number 366 in Miguel Orozco's Catalogue raisonnê of Picasso's posters. This copy is virtually pristine, with no fading, no browned paper, no folded or nicked edges. It is one of several that a bookseller colleague and friend purchased at the time of publication; five came to me after his death in 1996, and this is the last of those. The buyer will receive the brief but complete provenance.
Dimensions: image, 25.5 x 19.75 (65 x 50 cm); paper, 39 x 25 inches (98.5 x 63.5 cm).
This poster has been the subject of so much misinformation over the years that it is worth a moment for clarification. Frank Perls of Beverly Hills suggested to the UCLA Arts Council an 80th birthday exhibition of Picasso, his close wartime friend. He also asked Picasso to create a lithograph and poster for the show--this lithograph and poster. Picasso agreed and requested that the proceeds go to helping UCLA students in the fine arts to travel abroad. The entire editions of both the signed lithographs and the posters sold out the first day. Accounts of this favor for a friend have been described variously as a gift to the university of a "drawing," a "print," or a "lithograph," thus implying that anything else is a reproduction of a single sheet of paper. No! Picasso's gift to UCLA comprised the entirety of the conception, the image he created on seven sheets of transfer paper (one for each color), and all the subsequent processes that brought 100 signed prints and 2500 unsigned posters to the UCLA campus for a buying frenzy on the day when "Bonne fête, Monsieur Picasso" opened. UCLA's Grunwald Collection for the Graphic Arts, at the Hammer Museum, owns two copies of the signed lithograph: No. 1/100 and "a trial proof… that retains the color separation charts, in Roman numerals, at upper left and lower left." Perls also arranged the exhibition "Picasso: 60 years of graphic art" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1966. Item #26336