Picasso Museum of Barcelona

Barcelona City Council

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Picasso’s Barcelona is old Barcelona: where he lived, studied, worked – where he had his studios - , had fun... It is the Barcelona he drew and painted with excess, the Barcelona where the Picasso Museum is located – the centre housing the most important collections in the world from the artist’s formative periods.

There is where it all began... There is
where I understood how far I could go

Pablo Picasso’s relationship with Barcelona started in 1895 when his family moved to the city. The Ruiz-Picassos set up home with the young artist intermittently living there until 1904, when he finally moved to Paris. Despite his move, his family and friends always provided a link to the city which opened his eyes to modernity.

The Ruiz-Picasso family moved to old Barcelona, when the ancient centre of the city was expanding exponentially. A new neighbourhood was emerging in the Barcelona flatlands linking it to the surrounding towns and l’Eixample, designed by the engineer Ildefons Cerdà, which meant connecting them via a road grid network. In this way, alongside other urban reforms, a new Barcelona would come to pass. With the urban reforms, some ‘Picasso’ streets disappeared such as Carrer de la Mercè – where he lived – or Carrer de la Riera de Sant Joan – where he had a studio.

The budding artist registered at the Llotja School of Fine Arts where he was to consolidate his academic studies started in Corunna, where his family had lived from 1890 to the end of summer 1895. After a period of absence spent between Madrid and Horta de Sant Joan and running from September 1897 to the end of January 1899, he returned anew to Barcelona. The city was a marked change to other Spanish cities with the industrial drive having created wealth and riches. The city was full of opportunities, being a centre of forward thinking. The young man craved new experiences and soon became part of avant-garde artistic and cultural circles, frequenting the Quatre Gats tavern which served as the nerve centre at the time. Picasso's participation in these circles opened his eyes to modernity – the fin-de-siècle city being transformed into modern Barcelona.

Picasso spent some time in Paris and Madrid in 1900-01. His work pulsated with Barcelona's avant-garde spirit and from 1901 to the end of 1904 he created his first personal style - the Blue Period. At this time he worked between Barcelona and Paris, finally moving to Paris in April 1904.

Family and friends ensured he always kept his link with the city and he would return on brief trips in 1906, 1909, 1910 and 1913. In January 1917 he spent a few days with his family and, some months later, would return with the Ballets Russes of Serge de Diaghilev. The ballerina Olga Khokhlova, who he fell for and married the following year, was performing with the company. At that time, he spent a long stay in Barcelona from June to November and actively took part in the cultural and artistic life of the city. The Museu Picasso houses a collection of works from this 1917 stay in Barcelona which show the artist’s varied artistic style at the time: Harlequin, The Passeig de Colom, Gored Horse and Blanquita Suárez.

From then on, three new stays are known of: October 1926, mid-August 1933 and summer 1934.

Pretty and smart Barcelona (...)
Picasso praised it in 1936.

These trips allowed him to continue to be involved in activities and exhibitions taking place in the city, activities he would continue to participate in throughout his life. After his death, his presence would continue alive in the city, home of one of the few museums entirely dedicated to the unquestionable 20th century artistic genius.