Fundacio Juan March: Pablo Picasso and Honoré de Balzac‘ s „The unknown masterpiece“

Pablo Picasso and Honoré de Balzac' s "The unknown masterpiece"

From 1937 to 1955, Pablo Picasso lived and worked in a 17th century townhouse located at 7 Rue des Grands-Augustin, in Paris‘ 6th Arrondissemont.  The house had a storied history, particularly for artists: Honore de Balzac chose this „house on the rue des Grands-Augustin“, as the opening scene in The Unknown Masterpiece, a short story from 1837.

The thirteen etchings Picasso (himself identifying with Frenhofer) originally produced to accompany Balzac’s work were commissioned and published by Picasso’s dealer Ambroise Vollard as a folder series in 1927.

„Set in the 17th century in the Parisian studio of an ageing artist, Frenhofer, Balzac’s story revolves around the painter’s obsession with a work which he has secretly spent years struggling to finish. When two painters, admirers of the artist’s work, finally manage to get a glimpse of the painting, they are dismayed to discover just an indecipherable jumble of brush strokes and layers of paint in which they can barely distinguish a foot: the creation of a madman, of someone obsessed with achieving perfection who refuses to accept the imperfection inherent to even the most sublime works of art.“



Fundacio Juan March: Picasso Grabados


This gallery is dedicated to the rotating exhibitions of Picasso´s grafic work belonging to the permanent collection deposited in the Fundacio Juan March.

Picasso always gave great importance to the art of printmaking. He employed this medium through all of his life, but in the 30s he executed several series of etchings that were immediately recognized as among the most significant creations in the history of printmaking.

The above prints demonstrate Picasso’s interest in the old masters, particularly in the figure of Rembrandt. Picasso converts the celebrated 17th century painter and engraver into a character, reinterpreting the singular style of the Dutch master and setting him against the classicism that he himself practiced.

Es Baluard, ‚insight‘ Picasso Ceramics

Es Baluard (55)

Picasso Ceramics

As this museum is too big to introduce in one post, I decided to move from exhibition to exhibition from now on. Today its an ‚insight‘ the ‚Picasso Ceramics‘, a permanent exhibition at the Es Baluard.

Picasso decided in 1946 to visit the pottery exhibition in Vallauris (Golfe Juan) with his friend Louis Fort, and was introduced to Suzanne and Georges Ramié, the owners of a Madoura Pottery stand, who invited him to their Pottery workshop in Vallauris.
Satisfied with his first three works he made at that time, he returned a year later in order to have his own workshop, and inspired by his portfolio of sketches he began a long and very productive partnership with the Madoura team. They shared their vast experiences, all the material he needed, and tought him all the secrets of ceramics, so Picasso, in his artistic language of great diversity, transformed the role of these essentialy functional objects into works of art, ranging from vases, sculptures, plaques to even a complete dinner service (633 pieces in 24 years).