Picasso Museum of Barcelona

Still Life
Signed Picasso in the bottom left-hand corner
Paris, 1901
Oil on canvas
60 x 80 cm
Plandiura acquisition, 1932
MPB 4.273

The Work

This work painted in Paris in 1901, the first Picasso still life in painting, is a luminous work with strident colours and energetic defined brushstrokes. There is a vase with flowers – a bunch lacking perspective in the style of Matisse – on the predominantly blue canvas, two fruit bowls – fruit with intense Cézanne-like colours – a plate with the remains of a half-dozen oysters and a lemon – the empty shells of the oysters are done in rich brushstrokes and delicate colours – all in handcrafted ceramic recall that at the end of the 1940s Picasso became an accomplished ceramist. There is a beer pitcher to the right in Quimper ceramic – the native city of his great friend Max Jacob, from whom probably came the object according to the Musée des Beaux Arts in Quimper.

Picasso models the shapes of the objects via a skillful outline and uses vigorous, full and imprecise brushstrokes with the colour extended in a less-than-equal way, with very fine strokes alongside others with much more volume. His passion for colour is more-than-evident here with the contrasting yellow, orange and red on a cold blue background and the white of the tablecloth. Despite the vivid colouring of the ensemble, blue dominates the atmosphere and shows a progression towards the monochrome which would soon invade his works.

Picasso exhibited at the Berthe Weill in Paris in April 1902. Still Life is the work featured in the exhibition catalogue, no.1, which Adrien Fargue refers to in the preface, stating, ‘at times, he is carried away by colour, providing us with this luscious still life’.

Still-lifes would be a recurrent theme throughout Picasso's work, especially in Cubism and the 1920s and 40s. The Museum also houses the 1924 work Glass and Tobacco Packet.


Room 7