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Dying Bull

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

Oil on canvas
13 1/4 x 21 3/4 in. (33.7 x 55.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Description

    Picasso's father took him to see his first bullfight in 1889, when he was only nine years old. The spectacle so impressed him that he made it the subject of his very first painting that same year. In 1934 Picasso again took up the subject in an extensive series of drawings, prints, and paintings in which the choreography of the corrida became a metaphor for life and death. Here, Picasso focuses solely on the agony of the dying bull, eliminating the spectators, horses, and matador.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Signature: Signed, dated, and inscribed in gray paint, upper left: Boisgeloup / 16 juillet / XXXIV - / ¦Picasso¦

  • Provenance

    [Paul Rosenberg, Paris and Rosenberg & Helft, London, acquired from the artist February/March 1936, stock no. 3417; sold by April 1937 to Falk]; Oswald T. Falk, Esq., London (by April 1937); [Bignou Gallery, New York, by 1941]; Keith Warner, New York (by 1946); G. David Thompson, Pittsburgh (until autumn 1960; sold, through Ernst Beyeler, Basel, to Feigen); [Richard L. Feigen Gallery, Chicago, 1960–61; sold to Douglas]; Kirk Douglas, Beverly Hills (1961–74; sold through Feigen to Berggruen); [Heinz Berggruen, Paris, by 1974 until at least 1980]; [Interart, Ltd., Zug, Switzerland, until 1982; sold on December 7, for $420,000, to Gelman]; Jacques and Natasha Gelman, Mexico City and New York (1982–his d. 1986); Natasha Gelman, Mexico City and New York (1986–d. 1998; her bequest to MMA, 1998)

  • Exhibition History

    Paris: Galerie Paul Rosenberg. March 3–31,1936. "Exposition d'oeuvres récentes de Picasso." cat. no. 20

    London: Rosenberg & Helft. Apri 1–30, 1937. "Recent Works of Picasso." cat. no. 25.

    New York: Bignou Gallery. February 10–March 1, 1941. "Picasso: Early and Late." cat. no. 13.

    Los Angeles: UCLA Art Galleries. October 25–November 12, 1961. "'Bonne Fête' Monsieur Picasso from Southern California Collections." cat. no. 27, ill.

    Dallas: Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, and Fort Worth Art Center Museum. February 8–March 26, 1967. "Picasso, Two Concurrent Retrospective Exhibitions." cat. no. 56.

    Tokyo: Museum of the City of Tokyo. October 15–December 4, 1977. "Exposition Picasso." cat. no. 43, ill. Also shown in Nagoya, Prefectural Museum of Art, December 13–26, 1977; Fukuoka, Cultural Center, January 5–22, 1978; and Kyoto, National Museum of Modern Art, January 28–March 5, 1978.

    New York: Museum of Modern Art. May 22–September 6, 1980. "Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective." ill.

    New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, December 12, 1989 - April 1, 1990. London, England: Royal Academy, April 19 - July 15, 1990. ¦Gelman Collection¦ P. 192, illus. in color, Pp.193-194, discussed.

    Martigny, Suisse: Foundation Pierre Gianadda, 18 juin-1 novembre 1994. ¦de Matisse à Picasso: Collection Jacques et Natasha Gelman¦, Rédaction du catalogue: William S. Lieberman, Auteur du catalogue: Sabine Rewald, Textes de: Dawn Ades, John Ashbery, Jacques Dupin, John Golding, Lawrence Gowing, William S. Lieberman, Philippe de Montebello, Pierre Schneider et Gary Tinterow. p. 216 (illus. in color).

  • See also