Inscription: "artists Proof, History of Printmaking, Picasso at the Zoo" in pencil, lower margin.
Credit Line: Gift of the Department of Art & Design, Robert J. Hromyak Friends, and Friends and Colleagues of Robert J. Hromyak. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, Univeristy Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Colescott's History of Printmaking combined a montage of places and events with humor that yielded visual puns, whimsical asides, and examined eleven milestones in the history of the medium. Colescott takes free license to reinterpret history in this series, readily and sacrificing complete accuracy for a witty and crude, if necessary, version of what could have happened. The History of Printmaking series draws upon styles, biographies, and relevant social histories of particular artists with the purpose of emphasizing the quality of their art and, if possible, drawing parallels with our own time.
The History of Printmaking suite is composed of eleven prints and is a masterpiece on many levels: in storytelling, in imagery, and in technique and skill. Other series prints include: Ben Franklin at Versailles; Goya Studies War; Durer at 23, in Venice, in Love, his bags stolen; Rembrandt Bankrupt; S.W. Hayter Discovers Viscosity Printmaking; Entry of Lasansky into Iowa City; Picasso at the Zoo; Senefelder Receives the Secrets of Lithography; Lunch with Lautrec; Rauschenberg at Tamarind, in Hollywood; and The Last Printmaker.
In Picasso at the Zoo, seventh in the History of Printmaking series, Colescott imagined the greatest artist of the 20th century as any other Spanish father entertaining his children on a Sunday afternoon. What makes Picasso a unique parent is that he is strolling amongst caged creatures of his own creation, masked women, somber diners, and the newly captured Minotaur--images which are familiar to any admirer of Picasso's art.
Colescott's art is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Public Library, Brooklyn Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, Minneapolis Art Center, Walker Art Center, Tate Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, and numerous other museums in the United States and abroad.