The Watering Place

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France )

Gouache on tan paper board
14 7/8 x 22 7/8 in. (37.8 x 58.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Description

    Following the completion of "Family of Saltimbanques" in the winter of 1905-6, Picasso planned another ambitious picture. While it does not exist in a definitive version, the studies for it suggest a grand, elegiac painting on a very large scale. The Metropolitan's sketch is the most impressive of the remaining studies showing the entire composition of nude adolescents washing and watering their horses in an arid, mountainous landscape.
    It can be said that the "The Watering Place" is a temporal sequel to the "Family of Saltimbanques", the circus figures having stripped to wash themselves and their horses. (In earlier studies, the principal boy leading a horse wears a saltimbanque's costume.) Picasso relied on a number of specific sources to create his picture, from a painting by Gauguin (itself a reworking of a composition by Degas) to quotations from the Parthenon frieze and works by Paul Cézanne, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, and William Holman Hunt.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Signature: Signed in black ink, lower left: Picasso

    Inscription: Inscribed on verso in graphite, at right edge (in another hand): /C 411 / 36 x 57 [crossed out and partially illegible]: 37 x 57 [obscured letters]

  • Exhibition History

    Munich. Moderne Galerie (Heinrich Thannhauser). "Ausstellung Pablo Picasso," February 1913, no. 17.

    Cologne. Rheinische Kunstsalon (Otto Feldmann). "Pablo Picasso," March–April, 1913, no. 13.

    Vienna. Galerie Miethke. "Pablo Picasso," February–March 1914, no. 43 [possibly this picture].

    Hannover. Kestnergesellschaft. "Französische Malerei bis 1914 und Deutsche Künstler des Café du Dôme, Gemälde, Graphik: XXVII.–XXVIII. Sonderausstellung," September 7–November 12, 1919, no. 116.

    New York. Montross Gallery. "Original Paintings, Drawings, and Engravings being Exhibited with the Dial Folio 'Living Art'," January 26–February 14, 1924, no. 30.

    Rochester, N. Y. Memorial Art Gallery. "The Dial Portfolio of "Living Art"," Febeuary–March 1924, no. 68.

    Worcester Art Museum. "Exhibition of the Dial Collection of Paintings, Engravings, and Drawings by Contemporary Artists," March 5–30, 1924, no. 26.

    Northampton. Hillyer Art Gallery, Smith College. "The Dial Collection," Spring 1924, no catalogue.

    Hartford. Wadsworth Atheneum. "Pablo Picasso," February 6–March 1, 1934, no. 13.

    Art Institute of Chicago. "Sixteenth International Watercolor Exhibition," March 18–May 16, 1937, no. 115.

    Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Picasso: Forty Years of His Art," November 15, 1939–January 7, 1940, no. 52.

    Institute of Modern Art, Boston. "Four Spaniards: Dali, Gris, Miro, Picasso," January 24–March 3, 1946, no. 44.

    Worcester Art Museum. "The Dial and the Dial Collection," April 30–September 8, 1959, no. 75.

    Worcester Art Museum. "Selections from the Dial Collection," November 13–30, 1965, unnum. checklist.

    Worcester Art Museum. "The Dial Revisited," June 29–August 22, 1971, no catalogue.

    Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective," May 22–September 16, 1980, unnumbered cat. (p. 69).

    Worcester Art Museum. "'The Dial': Arts and Letters in the 1920s," March 7–May 10, 1981, no. 113.

    Kunsthalle Tübingen. "Picasso: Pastelle, Zeichnungen, Aquarelle," April 5–May 25, 1986, no. 33.

    Düsseldorf. Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen. "Picasso: Pastelle, Zeichnungen, Aquarelle," June 6–July 27, 1986, no. 33.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Nudes: A Selection from the Bequest of Scofield Thayer," February 12–October 1993, no catalogue.

    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Picasso: The Early Years, 1892–1906," September 10, 1997–January 4, 1998, no. 142.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 27–August 1, 2010, no. 29.

    Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia," June 20–September 3, 2012, no. 104

  • References

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  • See also