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Ten Picassos from the Kunstmuseum Basel

Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid 3/18/2015 - 9/14/2015

Picasso returns to the Prado through the Swiss museum’s works that best fit in with the exhibition message as they reflect, in the form of an essential anthology, some of decisive moments in the artist’s career, such as the end of his blue and rose periods, his foray into synthetic cubism, his return to “neoclassicism”, his experience during the war and the retrospective experiments of the last years of his life. The showing of this set of Picasso masterpieces revives the artist’s personal and artistic link with the Prado, which he directed during the Civil War years, and sparks a fruitful dialogue with great artists of the Renaissance and Baroque.

Access

Room Central Gallery. Villanueva Building

In collaboration with:
Comunidad de Madrid

Multimedia

Exhibition

The Two Brothers

The Two Brothers
The Two Brothers (Les deux frères)
Pablo Picasso
Oil on canvas, 141.4 x 97.1 cm
Early summer 1906 (Gósol)
Kunstmuseum Basel, on permanent loan from the City of Basel 1967
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2015

In this Rose Period canvas Picasso depicts a teenage boy carrying his younger brother on his back. The horizontal line that separates the ochre ground from the terracotta coloured background wall and a few faint shadows around the feet provide the only spatial references. The painting possibly reflects a sculpture that Picasso may have seen during his summer holiday of 1906 in Gósol in the Pyrenees near Lleida. It was there that he embarked on his so-called “Iberian” period, which continued until the middle of the following year.

Man, Woman and Child

Man, Woman and Child
Man, Woman and Child
Autumn of 1906
Oil on canvas. 115,7 x 88,9 cm
Kunstmuseum Basel, gift of the artist to the municipality of Basel; permanent loan from the City of Basel 1967
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2015

A standing man inclines his head as he attentively observes a woman holding a child who looks at the viewer with interest. In contrast, the woman’s face is inexpressive, her thoughts seemingly far away. The man’s features recall Picasso’s own, as seen in his self-portraits of 1906. Painted entirely in whites, pinks, greys and blacks, the figures suggest the stylised, anti-natural forms of Iberian art in which the volumes and faces are simplified to the point of becoming inexpressive masks.

Bread and Fruit Dish on a Table

Bread and Fruit Dish on a Table
Bread and Fruit Dish on a Table (Pains et compotier aux fruits sur une table)
Pablo Picasso
Oil on canvas, 163.7 x 132.1 cm, 1908–09
Kunstmuseum Basel, purchased with a contribution from Dr. h. c. Richard Doetsch- Benziger, 1951
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2015

This still life arose from the changes that Picasso made to a composition of figures around a folding table, which is the only element he retained. Still visible between the table’s legs are the legs of the figure (possibly Cézanne) located on the right, although his arms have become loaves of bread. Similarly, the fruit-filled bowl on the left is an intriguing transformation of the figure of Fernande, Picasso’s lover at this period.

The Aficionado

The Aficionado
The Aficionado
1912
Oil on canvas, 134,8 x 81,5 cm
Kunstmuseum Basel, donated by Dr. h. c. Raoul La Roche 1952
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2015

After he attended a bullfight in Nîmes, Picasso painted a portrait of this bullfighting enthusiast with his moustache and Cordovan hat. He holds a banderilla and a guitar, while on the right is a bottle with a cork in it. The painted letters provide information on the sitter’s interests, a device widely used by Picasso and Braque in their Cubist compositions from 1910 onwards. The painting reveals Picasso’s evolution towards simplified forms with few facets as he began to move away from Analytical Cubism.

Woman with a Guitar

Woman with a Guitar
Woman with a Guitar
1911-14
Oil on canvas, 130,2 x 90,1 cm
Kunstmuseum Basel, donated by Dr. h. c. Raoul La Roche 1952
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2015

Picasso constructed this female figure from a network of black lines on a whiteish background. Her breasts can be made out in the centre of the composition and her hands at the bottom, one of them holding a guitar. The artist also used different planes of colour – pink, black, blue and brown – to emphasise particular areas. Started in Céret and completed in Paris some years later, this canvas belongs to Picasso’s so-called “Synthetic Cubism” phase of 1912 to 1914.

Seated Harlequin or The Painter Jacinto Salvadó

Seated Harlequin or The Painter Jacinto Salvadó
Seated Harlequin (Arlequin assis)
Pablo Picasso
Oil on canvas, 130.2 x 97.1 cm
1923
Kunstmuseum Basel, on permanent loan from the City of Basel 1967
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2015

Here Picasso portrays his friend Jacinto Salvadó dressed as Harlequin and wearing a suit given to the artist by Jean Cocteau, with whom he created the ballet Parade. Between 1901 and 1927 Picasso produced more than fifty paintings on this subject, even depicting himself on various occasions as the character from the Italian Commedia dell’arte, which was extremely popular in European avant-garde painting. This canvas dates from Picasso’s Neo-classical period (1917-1924), when he returned to traditional figurative representation.

Woman with Hat Seated in an Armchair

Woman with Hat Seated in an Armchair
Woman with Hat Seated in an Armchair (Femme au chapeau assise dans un fauteuil)
Pablo Picasso
Oil on canvas, 130.5 x 97.5 cm
1941–42
Kunstmuseum Basel, purchased with a contribution from the Max Geldner Foundation and an exceptional contribution from the government, 1967
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2015

Dora Maar, Picasso’s partner at this period, is depicted frontally, seated in a metal armchair and conveying an air of distinction. Her head is split into two juxtaposed parts: the upper part is shown frontally, with an open eye that looks intensely and menacingly at the viewer, while the lower part is in profile and includes the striking red lips. Picasso portrayed all the women in his life seated in armchairs, depicting this subject almost three hundred times.

Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine, after Courbet

Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine, after Courbet
Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine, after Courbet
1950
Oil on plywood. 100,4 x 208 cm
Kunstmuseum Basel, purchased 1955
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2015

In this work Picasso pays tribute to Gustave Courbet by reinterpreting one of the French Realist painter’s best known works, Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine (Summer) of 1857. Picasso retains the powerful erotic element in Courbet’s canvas, with its hint of an amorous relationship between the two women, although he introduces elements that slightly modify this reference to forbidden love, primarily in the figure in the middle-ground, who acquires a more watchful, active attitude.

Venus and Cupid

Venus and Cupid
Venus and Cupid (Vénus et l’Amour)
Pablo Picasso
Oil on canvas, 195 x 130 cm
June 9, 1967
Kunstmuseum Basel, gift of the artist to the municipality of Basel; permanent loan from the City of Basel 1967
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2015

A smiling, naked boy looks at his mother who is about to embrace him. While neither have any identifying attributes, they are in fact Venus, the goddess of love, and her son Cupid, a recurring subject in Picasso’s late work. Possibly inspired by Titian’s Venus and Cupid before a Mirror, this is one of the numerous reinterpretations that Picasso produced from 1955 onwards of masterpieces by the great painters of the past, including Cranach, Velázquez, Delacroix and Manet.

The Couple

The Couple
The Couple
10 June 1967
Oil on canvas. 195 x 130 cm
Kunstmuseum Basel, gift of the artist to the municipality of Basel; permanent loan from the City of Basel 1967
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2015

The poses of the figures – a musketeer and a bare-breasted woman holding a glass – indicate the sexual tension underlying this scene. The painting has been interpreted as possibly reflecting the situation of Picasso himself, who was eighty-six when he created this work. The canvas is one of four works that the artist gave to the city of Basel in 1967 in a gesture of appreciation for the residents’ decision to support the acquisition of two of his paintings that were on deposit with the Kunstmuseum Basel.

Artworks

1

The Two Brothers (Les deux frères)

Pablo Picasso

Oil on canvas, 141.4 x 97.1 cm

Early summer 1906 (Gósol)

Kunstmuseum Basel, on permanent loan from the City of Basel 1967

2

Man, Woman and Child (Homme, femme et enfant)

Pablo Picasso

Oil on canvas, 115.7 x 88.9 cm

Autumn 1906 (Paris)

Kunstmuseum Basel, gift of the artist to the municipality of Basel; permanent loan from the City of Basel 1967

3

Bread and Fruit Dish on a Table (Pains et compotier aux fruits sur une table)

Pablo Picasso

Oil on canvas, 163.7 x 132.1 cm

1908–09

Kunstmuseum Basel, purchased with a contribution from Dr. h. c. Richard Doetsch- Benziger, 1951

4

The Aficionado (L’aficionado)

Pablo Picasso

Oil on canvas, 134.8 x 81.5 cm

1912

Kunstmuseum Basel, donatedby Dr. h. c. Raoul La Roche 1952

5

Woman with a Guitar (Femme à la guitare)

Pablo Picasso

Oil on canvas, 130.2 x 90.1 cm

1911–14

Kunstmuseum Basel, donated by Dr. h. c. Raoul La Roche 1952

6

Seated Harlequin (Arlequin assis)

Pablo Picasso

Oil on canvas, 130.2 x 97.1 cm

1923

Kunstmuseum Basel, on permanent loan from the City of Basel 1967

7

Woman with Hat Seated in an Armchair (Femme au chapeau assise dans un fauteuil)

Pablo Picasso

Oil on canvas, 130.5 x 97.5 cm

1941–42

Kunstmuseum Basel, purchased with a contribution from the Max Geldner Foundation and an exceptional contribution from the government, 1967

8

The Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine (Les Demoiselles des bords de la Seine, d’après Courbet)

Pablo Picasso

Oil on plywood, 100.4 x 208 cm

After Courbet, 1950

Kunstmuseum Basel, purchased 1955

9

Venus and Cupid (Vénus et l’Amour)

Pablo Picasso

Oil on canvas, 195 x 130 cm

June 9, 1967

Kunstmuseum Basel, gift of the artist to the municipality of Basel; permanent loan fromthe City of Basel 1967

10

The Couple (Le couple)

Pablo Picasso

Oil on canvas, 195 x 130 cm

June 10, 1967

Kunstmuseum Basel, gift of the artist to the municipality of Basel; permanent loan from the City of Basel 1967

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