Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

The Blind Man's Meal

Artist:
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France )
Date:
1903
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
37 1/2 x 37 1/4 in. (95.3 x 94.6 cm)
Classification:
paintings: panel
Credit Line:
Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt Gift, 1950
Accession Number:
50.188
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
One of the most important of Picasso's Blue Period canvases, this work is a remarkable restatement of the Christian sacrament-the ritual of tasting bread and wine to evoke the flesh and blood of Christ-in contemporary terms. Lit with the mystical light of El Greco, the composition derives its strength from its sparse setting and restricted palette.
Picasso described the painting in a letter to his friend the French poet Max Jacob: "I am painting a blind man at the table. He holds a piece of bread in his left hand and with his right hand reaches for a jug of wine. There is a dog nearby that looks at him. I am quite happy with it [although] it is not yet finished."
Technical analysis shows that the dog appeared in an earlier state of the picture, at bottom left, near the plate. Underneath the present composition is another work, a crouching female nude seen in profile.
Inscription: Signed in blue, upper right: Picasso
[Galerie Vollard, Paris, by 1906/7–1912, stock no. 5456; probably purchased from the artist; sold on December 11, 1912, for Fr 3,000 and shipped on January 10, 1913, to Moderne Galerie]; [Moderne Galerie (Heinrich Thannhauser), Munich, 1912–13, stock no. 3272; sold in February 1913 to Koenig]; Hertha Koenig and her brother, Helge Siegfried Koenig, Munich (1913–50; consigned by November 16, 1949, until November 1950 to Justin K. Thannhauser, New York; sold in November 1950, through Thannhauser, for $38,500 to MMA)

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