Picasso Museum of Barcelona

The Offering
Signed Picasso (later) in the bottom left-hand corner
Paris, 1908
Gouache on cardboard paper with white primer
30.8 x 31.1 cm
Donated by Lord Amulree, 1985
MPB 112.761

The Work

Picasso produced a series of studies on the work The Offering in spring 1907. The ensemble was probably a project for a larger work and is related to the work Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

In this gouache, the artist retakes the theme of the nude woman observed by man – here by two man – that he had studied in 1904 and that would now become a regular feature in his work. The nude female lying down and observed by men, seen in The Offering, brings this piece closer to Cézanne and his Olympia and The Afternoon in Naples. The detail of the drapery held by the man to the right and which hangs down to the floor evokes the bathers of the famous French painter.

The woman in Picasso’s work is far removed from the model of traditional representation as she is in a both horizontal and straight position – a posture with contradictory intention moving into Cubism. The woman lifts her arm and rests it on her head, making a closed arch over the hair. This position is repeated in Picasso’s female figures from the era.

As in other works, the drawing attempts to create space via the relationship of the characters’ positions. The men are in the forefront so that they mark out the woman to the back. Picasso uses a contrary technique which was usually used to create distance in classical perspective.
The palette is full of a rich selection of ochre and Prussian blue, with the thick black outline of the figures.

The Donation

Lord Amulree (1900-1983), a doctor and famous Liberal Party politician in the House of Lords from 1955 to 1977, left The Offering to the Museu Picasso of Barcelona in his will.
Other museums around the world also benefitted from his legacy. As the Daily Telegraph published on 1st May 1984, he donated a Matisse to the Tate Gallery, a Monet to the National Gallery of Scotland and a Braque to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.


Room 10