Videos ()
The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi


Paul Verlaine

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

Ink on paper
11 5/8 x 8 1/4 in. (29.5 x 21 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of William S. Lieberman, 2005
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Description

    Picasso drew this portrait of the French Symbolist poet Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), and another of his friend Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), on the endpapers to an edition of Mallarmé's poetry that belonged to his friend Paul Éluard (1895-1952). The Metropolitan's drawing was separated from both the book and its companion drawing at some point before 1966.
    Picasso was probably introduced to Verlaine's poetry while still a teenager in Spain, but it was Max Jacob, whom he met in Paris in the summer of 1901, who was responsible for the artist's early education in French literature, especially Verlaine. Picasso met Éluard in the mid-1920s through his associations with the Surrealists. He dedicated a number of poems to Picasso and collected his work. In turn, Picasso contributed original illustrations to Éluard's publications.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Signature: Signed, dated, and inscribed on verso, in ink: Pour/ Paul Eluard / ¦Picasso¦ / Paris le mardi 6 juin 1945

    Inscription: Dated, upper left and upper right: 5.6.45

  • Provenance

    Gift from the artist to Paul Eluard; M. Knoedler & Cie, Paris; Joan and Lester Avnet; William S. Lieberman (acquired date unknown).

  • References

    Picasso Dessins & Acquarelles. Paris: Galerie Knoedler, 1966; cat. no. 74, illus.

    A Selection of Drawings, Pastels and Watercolors from the Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Lester Francis Avnet. NY: New York Cultural Center in association with Fairleigh Dickinson University, December 9-January 25, 1970; cat. no. 106, n.p.; illustrated no. 106, n.p.

    From Cézanne through Picasso: 100 Drawings from the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, an exhibition organized under the Auspices of The International Council of the Museum of Modern Art. Tokyo: The National Museum of Western Art, May 1-June 20, 1971; Kurame: Ishibashi, July 1-Aug. 1, 1971; illus. no. 91 (The Joan and Lester Avnet Collection)

    Rubin, William, with Elaine L. Johnson and Riva Castleman. Picasso in the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, including remainder-interest and promised gifts. NY: The Museum of Modern Art, 1972; discussed in text and illus. p. 165, catalogue and notes p. 236 (Extended loan of the Joan and Lester Avnet Collection).

    Rubin, William (ed). Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective. NY: The Museum of Modern Art, 1980; illus. p. 387, not in exhibition (The Museum of Modern Art, NY, Anonymous extended loan).

    Picasso's Paintings, Watercolor, Drawings and Sculpture: Liberation and Post-War Years, 1944-1949, The Picasso Project. San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, 2000; illus, opposite p. 38 (Museum of Modern Art, NY).

    Not listed in Zervos.

  • See also