Maria Dolores Ruiz Picasso, sister of Pablo Picasso and known familiarly as Lola, was born in Malaga in 1884 and was a model par excellence of the early portraits of Picasso. Her first portrait dates from December 1st 1894.
Lola Ruiz Picasso. Photographer: José Sellier. Heirs of Ricardo Huelin Ruiz-Blasco, Madrid | Pablo Picasso. Lol Lulling her Doll. Sketchbook of A Coruña, 1894. Graphite pencil on paper. Gift of Pablo Picasso, 1970. MPB 111.417
Lola studied at the college of French Nuns La Sagrada Família of Malaga and subsequently carried out her singing studies during her stay with the Ruiz Picasso family in A Coruña.
In 1909, already in Barcelona, she married the neuropsychiatrist Juan Bautista Vilató Gómez, son of a professor of neurobiology from Barcelona and a mother from Malaga, with whom she had six children, two of whom were to become painters: José Vilató Ruiz and Javier Vilató Ruiz. In 1910 they moved to live in Mahon, where her husband worked in a Health laboratory, and after three years the family returned to Barcelona.
Pablo Picasso. Lola with her doll. Sketchbook of Corunna, 1894. A Coruña, 1894. Graphite pencil on paper. 19,5 x 13,5 cm. Gift of Pablo Picasso, 1970. MPB 111.416
In the City of Barcelona they resided first in a flat in Passeig de Colom, and later moved to their definitive residence in Passeig de Gràcia of Barcelona. From 1926 onwards Maria Picasso, mother of Pablo and Lola, moved to live with them. Picasso was very worried about his family during the Civil War, above all during the bombing of Barcelona, given the fact that the family lived very close to the Teatre Coliseum, on which a bomb fell just while a lorry loaded with explosive material drove by. Fortunately, the family was unharmed. Lola died in 1958 in Barcelona at the age of 74 years old.
Pablo Picasso. First Communion. Barcelona, 1896. Oil on canvas. 166 x 118 cm. Gift of Pablo Picasso, 1970. MPB 110.001 | Pablo Picasso. Lola, the Artist’s Sister, in the Studio in Riera de Sant Joan. Barcelona, 1900. Oil on canvas. 55,5 x 45,5 cm (irregular)
Picasso produced a large number of portraits of his sister during his formative period and in the museum we conserve many drawings and portraits of Lola, among them the oil painting First Communion, located in Gallery 1 of the museum, and the work, Lola, the Artist’s Sister in the Studio in Riera de Sant Joan, situated in Gallery 4.
Until the month of May you can also see in Gallery 4 of the museum, the drawing Lola, his Sister. Subsequently, due to the periodical changes of the works of the Collection of the museum, in its place you will be able to see the portrait Lola, the Artist’s Sister, that due to reasons of preventive conservation, it had been resting since May of last year.
Pablo Picasso. Lola, the Artist’s Sister. Barcelona, c. 1899. Charcoal and blue and red coloured pencils on paper. 45 x 29,5 cm. Given by the Barcelona City Council, 1963. MPB 4.265 | Pablo Picasso. Lola, the Artist’s Sister. Barcelona, 1898. Conté crayon on paper. 32,2 x 24,7 cm. Gift of Pablo Picasso, 1970. MPB 110.575
In 2003 the Fundación Picasso, Museo Casa Natal held for the first time an exhibition dedicated to the sister of Picasso, “Lola Ruiz Picasso (1884-1858)”, the curator being Rafael Inglada. The exhibition showed personal documents and articles of Lola (photos, letters, her wedding ring, mantillas, her own drawings, etc.) along with sketches and portraits produced by Picasso, two of them loaned temporarily by the Museu Picasso.
Commemorative plaque: Barcelona to the parents and sister of Pablo Picasso. Don José Ruiz Blasco. Donya María Picasso López. Donya Mª de los dolores Ruiz Picasso. October 1988
In the Pati Aguilar of the museum itself, in front of the commemorative plaque to Picasso, you can find a plaque in honour of the parents of Picasso and Lola herself.
Bibliography and links
“Lola”, a: Pierre Daix, Le nouveau Dictionaire Picasso. Robert Laffont. Paris, 2012. Pages. 525-526
“M ª Doroles Ruiz Picasso”, a: Rafael Inglada, Diccionario Málaga – Picasso Picasso -Málaga. Editorial Arguval. Malaga, 2005. Page 123
El nacimiento de Dolores Ruiz Picasso. Picasso. Antes del Azul (1881-1901). II Infancia en Málaga (1881-1901). IV 1883-1884. Rafael Inglada. Fundación Pablo Ruiz Picasso. Museo Casa Natal. Malaga, 2003. Page 153-186
Section Ancestors and relations of Picasso of the website of the Fundación Pablo Ruiz Picasso. Museo Casa Natal
Exhibition “Lola Ruiz Picasso (1884-1858)” in 2003 in the Fundación Picasso. Museo Casa Natal
Catalogue of the exhibition “Lola Ruiz Picasso (1884-1858)”. Fundación Pablo Ruiz Picasso. City Council of Malaga
Chronology of Pablo Picasso, historic facts, artistic context