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From 1907, Picasso opened his work to metamorphosis. He increasingly made one thing into another. In particular, he turned figures into things and things into figures, or even created things that were also figures.

This exhibition brings together sketches, studies, prints and paintings to show some of the ways in which this happened in Picasso’s work through the Cubist period and then between 1924 and the early 1930s as he engaged with and responded to the Surrealists.

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    It is called ‘Living Things’ because Picasso’s exchanges between figures and objects animate the inanimate. Heads are also guitars, still-lives become automata, and finally, in the later rooms, objects perform like actors on stage or are pulled apart as if the defenceless victims of attack.

    The exhibition presents 68 artworks, most of them by Picasso:

    • 49 paintings, among them 2 oils by Juan Gris
    • 9 drawings
    • 8 photographs by Waléry
    • 1 print
    • 1 collage and also digitized images from Picasso’s sketchbooks.

    Curator: Christopher Green, Professor from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London

  • Events

    Seen by...

    Different approaches to the exhibition conducted by experts and artists.


    14th January
    Victòria Cirlot, Professor of Theory of Literature, UPF (Universitat Pompeu Fabra). El cielo estrellado: en busca de la zona intermedia
    21st January
    Meritxell Duran, illustrator and sculptor. L'ànima dels objectes
    28th January
    Josep M. Terricabras, Professor of Philosophy, Universitat de Girona. Picasso i la revolució intel·lectual
    4th February
    Benet Casablancs
    , composer and musicologist. Una mirada musical: el tema amb variacions

    All sessions are on Wednesdays, at 7 pm. except the first one that will start at 7,30 pm. Free of charge, included with the ticket entrance. Booking required
    Telf. (+34) 93 256 30 00 / 22,
    Fax (+34) 93 215 01 02

    Lecture - Dialogue

    By Christopher Green exhibition Chief Curator and Professor of the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and Elisabeth Cowling, Reader in History of Art, University of Edinburgh.

    Date 16th February 2009 at 7 p.m.
    Admission free Booking required.
    Bookings museupicasso_reserves@bcn.cat
    Telf. (+34) 93 256 30 22
    Fax (+34) 93 315 01 02

    Children's workshop

    Animated Things: build your own puppet!
    Cia. La Puntual
    Director Eugenio Navarro, with the collaboration of Jordina Salvany.

    Addressed to children from 6 to 12 years old
    Length 3h. Including a visit to the exhibition “Living Things: Picasso Figure / Still-life”
    Sessions and timetable Saturdays January 10, 17, 24 and 31; February 7 10,30 am. – 13,30 pm.
    Price 2 € Museum ticket for one accompanying person per child included
    Meeting point Palau Finestres of the Museu Picasso, entrance by Montcada, 23
    Booking required
    Telf.(+34) 93 256 30 22

    Guided tours

  • Exhibition catalogue

    “Metamorphosis – one thing turning into another – has long been acknowledged as crucial to Picasso’s work, both in its creative processes and in its impact. What has been looked at much less deeply is the way Picasso’s metamorphic manipulation of pictorial signs allowed him to move between the living and the dead as he invented and transformed his ideas. This book takes the reader through carefully selected sequences of works on a journey in Picasso’s imagination, one that holds in balance the living and the dead”.
    Christopher Green

    • It can be purchased in the Museu Picasso shop, price: 29,95 € or buy it online

    • Curator Christopher Green
    • Authors Christopher Green, J. F. Yvars
    • Year 2008
    • Pages 192
    • Languages Catalan & Spanish (English edition under preparation)
    • Size 27 x 24 cm
    • Editor
      English edition Thames & Hudson
      Edition in Spain Institut de Cultura / Museu Picasso

    • ISBN
      Spanish 978-84-9850-128-5
      Catalan 978-84-9850-127-8

  • Press

  • Credits and Acknowledgements

    • Organisation and production Museu Picasso, Barcelona
    • Director Pepe Serra
    • Chief Curator Christopher Green
    • Exhibition Coordinator Montserrat Torras and Sònia Villegas
    • Conservation Reyes Jiménez and Anna Vélez
    • Register Montserrat Torras and Anna Fàbregas
    • Catalogue Marta Jové
    • Press and Communication Manel Baena and Anna Bru de Sala
    • Design Ana Alcubierre
    • Graphic Design Alex Dobaño
    • Audiovisual Emblemma Espais audiovisuals
    • Acknowledgements

      The museum would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of all people that have contributed to this project, and most particularly to Catherine Hutin, Claude Picasso and Bernard Picasso, for their generous contribution to this exhibition and for their permanent support to the Museum.

      The museum wishes to also thank the cooperation of museums, galleries and collectors, including all those that prefer to remain anonymous, that have generously agreed to loan theirs works to the exhibition:

    • DENMARKStatens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

    • FRANCECentre Georges Pompidou, París. Musée national d'Art moderne / Centre de création industrielleD.A.F., Fonds Erik Satie en dipòsit a l’ImecMusée d’art moderne Lille Métropole, Villeneuve d’AscqMusée national Picasso, París

    • GREAT BRTAINNahmad Collection

    • IRELANDNational Gallery of Ireland

    • The NETHERLANDSStedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

    • NORWAYHenie Onstad Art Centre

    • SPAINColección Fundación MapfreFundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el ArteMuseo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, MadridMuseo Picasso MálagaMuseo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

    • SWITZERLANDGalerie Beyeler, BaselMarina Picasso Collection. Courtesy Galerie Jan Krugier & Cie., Geneva

    • UNITED STATESPrivate collection. Courtesy Richard Gray Gallery, ChicagoThe Detroit Institute of Fine ArtsThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New YorkPhiladelphia Museum of ArtSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

    • The Museu Picasso of Barcelona wishes to also thank the following individuals for their invaluable collaboration: María Jesús Albiñana Cilveti, María Alonso, Anne Baldassari, Anna Batiste, Graham W. J. Beal, Yve-Alain Bois, Eugenio Carmona, Josep Maria Catà, Susan Davidson, Lisa Denison, Diane Deriaz, Lorna Dudley-Williams, Evelyne Ferlay, Anna González Batiste-Alentorn, Elizabeth Gorayeb, Richard Gray, Paul Gray, Florence Half-Wrobel, Anne d’Harnoncourt, Karin Hellandsjø, Pablo Jiménez Burillo, Raymond Keaveney, Sam Keller, Jan Krugier, Shelley R. Langdale, Bernardo Laniado-Romero, Brigitte Léal, Lucie Maguire, Jesús Martínez Torrente, Isabela Mora, Helly Nahmad, Karsten Ohrt, Alfred Pacquement, Christine Pinault, Esther Pujol, Paco Rebés, Guillermo Solana, Nancy Spector, Nicolas Surlapierre, Michael Taylor, Annabelle Ténèze, Graham Thomson, Gary Tinterow, Gijs van Tuyl, John Vick, Marta Volga Guezala and Ornella Volta.