Picasso Museum of Barcelona

End of the Number
Signed –Picasso- in the bottom right-hand corner
Paris, 1901
Pastel on canvas
72 x 46 cm
Plandiura acquisition, 1932
MPB 4.270

The Work

Picasso was captivated by spectacle in general from very early on – a fascinating world full of visual stimuli, challenges and an inexhaustible source of inspiration offering him a rich thematic and chromatic potential.
In the first half of 1901 in Paris, Picasso was immersed in the world of fun and diversion and was seduced by bohemia, cabarets and the decadence of the pleasures of the Belle Époque. Dancers, music-hall performers, singers and characters of the night populate his work, created in a nimble direct style.

The End of the Number captures the vedette, probably Yvette Gilbert, when waving with a smile at the end of her Olympia performance.
This pastel has a more pictorial than graphic element, with a composition and chromatic style confirming a harmonious synthesis of the trial and errors at the time. Picasso painted a close piece to this work in the same year in Paris, the pastel En Scène held at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York.

His taste for the spontaneous and night-time scenes came, in large part, from Toulouse-Lautrec, of whom he stated years later, ‘It was in Paris where I realised how great a painter Toulouse-Lautrec was’. Picasso clearly shows his admiration for the French artist in some works such as this one, by using smooth flat colours and arabesque in the outline of the figure, with strong synthesis and, especially, a graceful wrist action.

Location

Room 6