Picasso Museum of Barcelona

Riera de Sant Joan Street, from the window in the artist’s studio
Barcelona, 1900
Oil on wood
22.3 x 13.8 cm
Donated by the artist, 1970
MPB 110.213

There is a lead pencil drawing on
the back of a nude woman in profile.
Unsigned and undated. Barcelona, circa 1900
(MPB 110.213 R)

The Work

Picasso moved to a new studio in 1900 he shared with his friend Carles Casagemas, at 17 Carrer de la Riera de Saint Joan (the street disappeared when work started on the opening of Via Laietana in 1907).

The painting shows the window open wide with only the lower right-hand corner visible, showing us a view of the street and everyday life on a narrow street in the old quarter of Barcelona. To the right of the balcony is a character observing the artist whilst he paints.

Windows were a frequent element in Picasso’s work, serving to create new spatial relationships between the interior and exterior, such as the portrait of his sister painted in the same studio and year, Lola, the artist's sister, in the studio in Riera de Sant Joan, The Passeig de Colom and The Doves, to mention three works from very different periods.

The well-configured perspective makes for an excellent composition. The work shows an inclination towards abstraction and the colour blotting stands out. Here, the ochre, brown and grey tones show the figures more in suggestion than in profile, more insinuated than evidenced, in difference to drawing methods in earlier works. The specific layout of the long brushstrokes grasps and accentuates the movement and life in the street.

The museum houses a drawing of this street with the same perspective.


Room 4