A blog about art

A famous Picasso painting hides a second work of art

Still Life ‘(1922) has always been a treasured work, but now it offers a new vision of Picasso’s creative process, since under that famous still life, the artist had captured a very different painting.

In the early 1900s, when Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) was trying for the first time to capture some appeal and make a name for himself as the best artist in the world, money was scarce. So it was not uncommon for a Spanish painter to have to reuse canvas and paint over painted.

Historians had already discovered hidden works, as occurs under the layers of pigment in his work La Soupe (1902), made in his Blue Period. What is strange is that, almost five decades after his death, more examples like this continue to be found in his work. This is confirmed by a team of researchers from the Art Institute of Chicago, in a report recently published in Applied Science.

Researchers have deduced that on the canvas used for his 1922 masterpiece Still Life, Picasso first attempted to paint a different and more neoclassical still life. They took a closer look at the canvas, and noticed that the surface of that painting appeared to be wrinkled with multiple layers. What started out as a benign curiosity resulted in a revolutionary discovery. After the researchers applied X-rays and infrared images, they were surprised to find a completely different composition underneath the paint.

What made this even more fascinating is that Picasso seemed to have intended it never to be noticed. While the artist generally wanted his viewers to see the many iterations that his work entailed by allowing earlier drafts to show through to his final work, Picasso deliberately erased the first draft with a heavy cast of white paint.

Almost ensuring its disappearance, until now. “Picasso was a playful and inventive painter who often seemed to have more ideas than materials at hand,” says Allison Langley, Chief of Conservation of Paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago. “He frequently painted over previous works that were partially or totally finished, often responding to the colors, shapes or themes of the previous composition.”

The Still Life canvas by Pablo Picasso

Since 1922 it has been one of the most prized possessions in the Chicago Art Institute’s collection since Alice Toklas donated it in 1953 on behalf of her late partner, Gertrude Stein. The work was done a decade after Picasso shocked the world with his cubist murals, and four years after marrying his first wife, Olga Khokhlova, a time when the artist was turning towards neoclassical paintings.

In the early 1920s, the Spaniard arrived late in his Cubist period, spending much of his energy experimenting with flat grids underlying thick, colorful lines. As Langley explains, “The Chicago still life is unusual in that it blocked early works and turned the canvas on its side before painting the linear still life we ​​see today. In this period, Picasso was working in two styles simultaneously: linear cubism and neoclassical narratives “.

Perhaps Picasso knew all the time that he could not hide anything from a curious public. In the 1950s, he suggested the same to Kenneth Brummel, curator of modern art at the Art Gallery of Ontario. “He told me, you should X-ray my work, because you will find things underneath,” Brummel told the Toronto Star in a 2018 interview. “He wasn’t more specific, but he urged people to do exactly that.”

Pablo PICASSO in his MOST INTIMATE version

It was in April 1973 that the famous Spanish artist with a solar aura disappeared. Between the studio and the beach, Pablo Picasso reveals himself here like you’ve never seen him before, surrounded by his family and his many artist friends.

Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall
5 of 10 Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall in a ceramic workshop in Vallauris, 1948.

6 of 10 Pablo Picasso teaching his son Claude to draw, La Garoupe, Juan-les-Pins, 1955.

Brigitte bardot
7 of 10 Pablo Picasso studying the proportions of Brigitte Bardot’s face, 1950.

Pablo Ruiz Picasso (Malaga, October 25, 1881-Mougins, April 8, 1973) was a Spanish painter and sculptor, creator, along with Georges Braque, of Cubism.

Since the genesis of the 20th century, he has been considered one of the greatest painters who participated in many artistic movements that spread throughout the world and exerted a great influence on other great artists of his time. His works are present in museums and collections throughout Europe and the world. In addition, he dealt with other genres such as drawing, engraving, book illustration, sculpture, ceramics, and set and costume design for theatrical productions. He also has a short literary work.

Politically, Picasso declared himself a pacifist and a communist. He was a member of the Communist Party of Spain and the French Communist Party until his death, which occurred on April 8, 1973 at the age of ninety-one, in his house called “Notre-Dame-de-Vie” in the French town. by Mougins. He is buried in the park of the castle of Vauvenargues (Bouches-du-Rhone).

Malaga Museum of Fine Arts

The creation of the Provincial Museum of Fine Arts of Malaga was an old initiative of the academics of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Telmo promoted since 1866. On July 24, 1913 the institution was established by Royal Decree, 10 which after Many attempts and after the Museum’s Board of Trustees was established on February 3, 1915, it was inaugurated on August 17, 1916 in some rooms of a house on Malaga street Císter corner with Pedro de Toledo street, rented to the Marqués de Larios, president of the board at that time. In 1920 the aforementioned building was sold to the Teresian Institution, and faced with the risk of being left without premises for the installation, the Museum Board decided that it should be installed in the Academy building itself and in its classrooms.

After years in the search for a definitive location, its new headquarters would be inaugurated on April 28, 1961 by the then Head of State, Francisco Franco Bahamonde, in the Palace of the Counts of Buenavista, with which the mission was definitely fulfilled. long-standing aspiration of the San Telmo Academy of Fine Arts that Malaga would have a worthy Museum of Fine Arts in a suitable environment.

This headquarters was closed to the public in 1997 since the Palace of the Counts of Buenavista had been chosen by those responsible for Culture of the Junta de Andalucía as the headquarters of the Picasso Málaga museum.