Changes in the Collection of the Museu Picasso

It is a well known fact that museums do not permanently exhibit all the works of their collections. For reasons of conservation or due to the curatorial discourse, a large number of drawings and paintings are systematically changed, turning the Collection into a living organism that is renewed and modified non-stop.

Our Collection is very rich in terms of works on paper – drawings and prints, that, for reasons of preventive conservation, oblige us to change them every three or four months. This allows us to exhibit all the works and even the smallest ones, which take on special relevance by being put in context.

The galleries of the Collection

Visitors at the galleries of the museum’s Collection

However, sometimes the changes have to be more profound, as has happened on this occasion. Taking advantage of the usual drop in visitors during the month of January, we have closed the museum by zones so as to undertake changes not only in the expository discourse, but also in museological and structural terms: there have been improvements in the public address system, the smoke detection and security, some windows have been uncovered, the colour of most of the walls of the galleries has been changed, moving to clearer and brighter ranges, we’ve gone ahead with a change of the lighting system, getting away from the theatrical concepts and aiming for a more homogenous luminosity, and we have rewritten the explicative texts of the galleries so as to facilitate the visits.

In terms of the works exhibited, following the chronological discourse itself, we present here some of the new elements:

Gallery 1: The beginnings. Works produced in La Coruña and the first self-portraits and family portraits.

Gallery 2: Usually the works exhibited in this gallery are those painted in 1896. As the museum is collaborating with a major loan on the exhibition “Picasso of Màlaga. Earliest works“, that will shortly be inaugurated in the Museo Picasso of Málaga, we have taken advantage to show, next to First Communion a series of religious paintings and drawings.

First CommunionScience and Charity

Pablo Picasso. First Communion. 1896. Oil on canvas. MPB 110.001
Pablo Picasso. Science and Charity. 1897. Oil on canvas. MPB 110.046

Gallery 3: The major work Science and Charity (1897) shares this gallery with the small landscapes produced in Madrid during 1897-98 and in Horta d’Ebre in 1898.

Gallery 4: The whole gallery is dedicated to the period of Barcelona 1899-1900. With the works exhibited we see how Picasso assimilated Catalan modernism and how he integrated himself into the most intellectual circles of Barcelona, such as the tavern Quatre Gats. As a new element, a selection of drawings produced on the occasion of the inauguration of the Les Arenes Bullring in July 1900, is presented.

Galleries 5-6-7: A group of galleries devoted to the first and second trips of Picasso to Paris and his making contact with, and subsequent assimilation and absorbing of, the European avant-garde artists: impressionism, postimpressionism, nabis, symbolism. The most notable works are The Wait (Margot) and Still Life of 1901.

The Wait (Margot)Still Life

Pablo Picasso. The Wait (Margot). 1901. Oil on board. MPB 4.271
Pablo Picasso. Still Life. 1901. Oil on canvas. MPB 4.273

Gallery 8: Dedicated to the Blue Period, this gallery is divided in three sections.  The central section is where the majority of the oil paintings from the Blue Period are exhibited, such as Roofs of Barcelona or The Blue Glass.

Roofs of  BarcelonaThe Blue Glass

Pablo Picasso. Roofs of Barcelona. 1902-1903. Oil on canvas. MPB 112.943
Pablo Picasso. The Blue Glass. 1902-1903. Oil on canvas. MPB 110.009

On the right-hand side, we exhibit the pastels and drawings from this same period, and on this occasion we can see Motherhood and The Madman.

MotherhoodThe Madmano
Pablo Picasso. Motherhood. 1903. Pastel and charcoal on paper. MPB 4.269
Pablo Picasso. The Madman. 1904. Watercolor on paper. MPB 4.272

On the left-hand side, we exhibit the Portrait of Benedetta Bianco (Senyora Canals) from 1905 and the sculpture Woman’s Head (Fernande Olivier), from 1906. Now, for some months, we have received a work on loan: Study by Mlle. Léonie, from the Collections of the Fundación Mapfre. This work dialogues with a drypoint engraving from 1910 that Picasso did to illustrate the book Saint-Matorel by Max Jacob where there also appears Mlle. Léonie.

Portrait of Benedetta Bianco (Señora Canals)Woman's Head  (Fernande Olivier)Mademoiselle Léonie (Étude)

Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Benedetta Bianco. 1905. Oil and charcoal on canvas. MPB 4.266
Pablo Picasso, Fundició Vollard. Woman’s Head (Fernande Olivier). 1906. Bronze. MPB 113.035
Pablo Picasso. Mademoiselle Léoni (Etude). 1910. Crayon and ink on paper – 64,3 x 49,5 cm. ©Sucesión Picasso. VEGAP, Madrid 2012. Colección FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE

Galleries 9-10-11: Picasso’s stay in Barcelona in 1917 is represented in these galleries.  The expressionist painting, the Gored Horse, and the classic Harlequin are side by side with the works of the so-called crystal cubism, such as Character with fruit bowl.

Gored horseHarlequinCharacter with fruit bowl
Pablo Picasso. Gored horse. 1917. Graphite pencil on canvas with ochre primer. MPB 110.012
Pablo Picasso. Harlequin. 1917. Oil on canvas. MPB 10.941
Pablo Picasso. Person with fruit bowl. 1917. Oil on canvas. MPB 110.006

Gallery B1: This space is dedicated to Jaume Sabartés, founder of the museum.  Along with the portrait Picasso did of him in 1939 and two small still lifes from his collection, there is a series of photographs that show the close relation and friendship of the artist with his secretary.

Portrait of Jaume Sabartés

Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Jaume Sabartés with ruff and cap. 1939. Oil on canvas. MPB 70.241

Gallery B2: As an exchange for the loan of the work number 1 of Las Meninas series, for the exhibition “Picasso Black and White“, the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston has loaned the oil painting, Two women in front of a window from 1927.

Two women in front of a windowLas meninas. Infanta Margarita María
Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973. Two women in front of a window. Oil on canvas . Canvas or panel: 397.8×130.8 cm. Frame: 101,6×135.3×5,1 cm. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Donation de Mr. and Mrs. Theodore N. Law
Pablo Picasso. Las Meninas (infanta Margarita María). 1957. Oil on canvas. MPB 70.459

Galleries 12-13-14: Shows the series Las Meninas, the only series of Picassian interpretations that is integrally conserved in the same museum.  In these galleries there has not been any form of museographical intervention.  It will be done next year.

Gallery 15: For issues of physical space, it is not possible to exhibit the whole of the series of Las Meninas in the previous galleries.  For this reason, the group of The Pigeons, and the Portrait of Jacqueline are exhibited in this gallery.

The PigeonsPortrait of Jacqueline

Pablo Picasso. The Pigeons. 1957. Oil on canvas. MPB 70.450
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Jacqueline. 1957. Oil on canvas. MPB 70.489

Gallery 16: This gallery of the museum presents works from the last period of Picasso. On this occasion we exhibit Painter Working from 1965, two paintings from 1969-70 and Hand in Hand, an oil painting by Picasso and his nephew Javier Vilató, deposited in the museum by the heirs of Vilató.

Hand in HandPainter Working

Pablo Picasso and Javier Vilató. Signed “Javier Vilató y su tío”. Hand in Hand. 1950. Photography: Jacqueline Hyde. Archivo J.Vilató, París
Pablo Picasso. Painter Working. 1965. Oil and Ripolin on canvas. MPB 70.810

Malén Gual

Curator of the collection

  • Sammy Elmakies
    November 9, 2013

    I would like to get a reproduction of “painter working” and couldn’t find any at work. Can you kindly advice?

  • Sammy Elmakies
    November 9, 2013

    I meant “couldn’t find any on the net”.. LOL.. too much work

  • Museu Picasso
    November 12, 2013

    Hi, Sammy. We do not have exactly a reproduction of this work but in the museum shop you can find bookmarks, postcards and notebooks with the image of the “Painter Working”. We apologise for any inconvenience.

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