The donation of David Douglas
02/10/14 - 11/01/15
David Douglas Duncan Donation
David Douglas Duncan, born in 1916 in Kansas City, Missouri, embarked on his professional career as a war photojournalist in the Western Pacific during the Second World War.
Robert Capa had promised to introduce him to Picasso but died in the First Indochina War before he could arrange it. Duncan finally met the artist on February 1956. The encounter marked the beginning of a warm-hearted friendship between Duncan and Picasso that would last until the artist’s death in 1973.
Their relationship was captured in Duncan’s photographs, especially those produced between 1956 and 1962, which give us a glimpse of Picasso’s life and artistic processes as seen through the eyes of a friend.
On occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Museu Picasso, Barcelona, David Douglas Duncan donated 163 b/w photographs and two colour photographs. We are now exhibiting the second half of this donation, with a selection of prints displayed together with works from our collection. In some cases the photographs are displayed alongside the original piece; in others they are compared and contrasted with pieces inspired by the same subject matter.
In 1957 the publishing house Gustavo Gili commissioned Picasso to make 26 aquatints representing different bullfighting scenes to illustrate the book La Tauromaquia o el arte de torear, by José Delgado, alias Pepe Illo, first published in 1796.
Bullfight and fish
"After filleting a sole meunière with almost surgical precision, Picasso just picked up the bones to lick them clean. He looked like he was playing the harmonica and that’s when I took the shot, without even noticing the vacant look in his eyes. […] Then he dropped the bones and disappeared down the hallway to the front door. When he came back he was holding a fresh lump of potter’s clay in his hand. He’d eaten the fish and now he was going to immortalise its remains."
-David Douglas Duncan-
While he was working on the Las Meninas series, Picasso set up his studio on the second floor at La Californie, sharing the space with the pigeons that lived in the dovecot the artist kept there and which years later he would paint as part of the series on display in Room 15 of the Museu.
During his childhood in Málaga, Picasso entertained his sisters and cousins by cutting out paper figures with his aunts’ embroidery scissors. He would later draw on these games to create his papiers collés and sheet-metal sculptures, as well as other pieces he made for fun, such as the paper dolls and masks for his children.