Picasso Museum of Barcelona

The Passeig de Colom
Barcelona, 1917
Oil on canvas
40.1 x 32 cm
Donated by the artist, 1970
MPB 110.028

The Work

This painting was produced during Picasso’s stay in Barcelona between June and November 1917, with Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company performing the ballet Parade at the Liceu Theatre.

In terms of style, The Passeig de Colom plays with a duality of synthetic Cubism and pointillism. The paint is applied irregularly, combining heavy and light brushstrokes. The window is seen as a structure using the distortion of shapes and the practical absence of colours that are typical of Cubism to drag the viewer’s eye onto the background seascape which is full of colour and painted with characteristic neo-Impressionist brushstrokes.

This oil painting is the decisive prelude to the series of open windows in Picasso's work, even though he had used this theme at the beginning of his work. As an artistic subject, windows seize centre-stage and serve to create new spatial relationships between the interior and exterior.

The rail, Spanish flag and statue of Columbus all go to provide ‘realism’ to an optically invented landscape.

The Passeig de Colom and the Ranzini Hotel

The perspective shown is that from the balcony of the Ranzini Hotel at 22 Passeig de Colom where the future artist's wife, the Diaghilev Company ballerina Olga Khokhlova, stayed.

There is a book of Picasso drawings made at that time in Barcelona in the Musée national Picasso in Paris, bringing together different images of Olga sitting on the aforementioned hotel balcony (MPP 1990-103, book no. 21).


Room 11