Harlequin, Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France), Oil on canvas


Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France)
Oil on canvas
32 x 25 5/8 in. (81.3 x 65.1 cm)
Credit Line:
The Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls Collection, 1997
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2018 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
The presence of Harlequin in this enigmatic picture-signaled by the bicorne hat and the lozenges at lower right-identifies this work as a self-portrait, for Harlequin was the artist's known alter ego. At the left margin, Picasso painted the shadow of his own profile, as if he were observing the disorientation of Harlequin and, by extension, himself. When he painted the picture, Picasso felt he was trapped in a failed marriage, the victim of his mentally unstable wife, Olga Kokhlova. He had already met the young woman who would become his lover, Marie-Thérèse Walter.
Inscription: Signed and dated (in black and two shades of gray paint, upper right): Picasso/ 27
the artist (1927–30; sold on July 31, 1930 to Rosenberg and Wildenstein); [Paul Rosenberg, Paris, and Georges Wildenstein, Paris and New York, joint ownership, 1930–at least 1938, stock no. 2531]; [Perls Galleries (Klaus G. Perls), New York, by 1961, stock no. 6144]; Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls, New York (until 1997; their gift to MMA)

New York. Valentine Gallery. "Abstractions of Picasso," January 5–February 7, 1931, no. 11.

Paris. Galerie Georges Petit. "Exposition Picasso," June 16–July 30, 1932, no. 173.

Kunsthaus Zürich. "Picasso Retrospective, 1901–1931," September 11–October 30, 1932, extended to November 13, 1932, no. 171.

Boston Museum of Modern Art. "Picasso–Henri Matisse," October 19–November 11, 1938, no. 21.

New York. Valentine Gallery. "Picasso & Miro," November 2–28, 1942, no. 6.

New York. Perls Galleries. "21 Major Acquisitions," October 10–November 25, 1961, no. 23.

New York. Rosenberg Galleries. "Picasso: An American Tribute," April 25–May 12, 1962, no. 47.

Art Gallery of Toronto. "Picasso and Man," January 11–February 16, 1964, no. 92.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. "Picasso and Man," February 28–March 31, 1964, no. 92.

Toulouse. Musée des Augustins. "Picasso et le théâtre," June 22–September 15, 1965, no. 102.

New York. Perls Galleries. "Pablo Picasso: Highlights in Retrospect," October 12–November 20, 1965, no. 9.

Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. "Picasso: Two Concurrent Retrospective Exhibitions," February 8–March 26, 1967, no. 46.

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Exposition Picasso," October 15–December 4, 1977, no. 40.

Nagoya. Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art. "Exposition Picasso," December 13–26, 1977, no. 40.

Cultural Center of Fukuoka. "Exposition Picasso," January 5–22, 1978, no. 40.

Kyoto. National Museum of Modern Art. "Exposition Picasso," January 28–March 5, 1978, no. 40.

Cleveland Museum of Art. "The Spirit of Surrealism," October 3–November 25, 1979, no. 66.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Picasso and the Weeping Women: The Years of Marie-Thérèse Walter and Dora Maar," February 10–May 10, 1994, not in catalogue (checklist no. 6).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Picasso and the Weeping Women: The Years of Marie-Thérèse Walter and Dora Maar," June–September 14, 1994, not in catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Picasso the Engraver: Selections from the Musée Picasso, Paris," September 18–December 21, 1997, not in catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painters in Paris: 1895–1950," March 8–December 31, 2000, extended to January 14, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 102).

Barcelona. Museu Picasso. "Picasso y el circo," November 15, 2006–February 18, 2007, no. 192.

Martigny. Fondation Pierre Gianadda. "Picasso et le cirque," March 9–June 10, 2007, no. 192.

Rome. Complesso del Vittoriano. "Picasso Harlequin, 1917–1937," October 11, 2008–February 8, 2009, no. 19.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 27–August 1, 2010, no. 75.

Kunsthaus Zürich. "Picasso by Picasso. His First Museum Exhibition, 1932," October 15, 2010–January 30, 2011, no. 58.

Paris. Musée du Quai Branly. "Les Maîtres du désordre," April 11–July 29, 2012, unnumbered cat. (p. 133).

Maud Dale. Picasso. New York, 1930, pl. 42.

Georges Bataille, ed. "Hommage à Picasso." Documents 2, no. 3 (1930), p. 132, ill.

Christian Zervos et al. "Picasso [special issue coinciding with Exh. Paris 1932]." Cahiers d'art 7, nos. 3-5 (1932), unpaginated, ill.

Genaro Estrada. Genio y figura de Picasso. Mexico, 1936, p. 59, no. 173 (Exh. Paris 1932 checklist).

Christian Zervos. Pablo Picasso. Vol. 7, Works from 1926 to 1932. New York and Paris, 1955, p. 34, no. 80, ill.

Dorothy Sieberling, ed. "Picasso: His Disguises (in special double issue: Picasso)." Life Magazine 65 (December 27, 1968), p. 123, ill.

André Fermigier. Picasso. Paris, 1969, p. 141, fig. 87.

Jean Leymarie. Picasso: Métamorphoses et unité. Geneva, 1971, p. 292, ill. p. 25.

Christine Piot. "Décrire Picasso." PhD diss., Universite de Paris Pantheon-Sorbonne, October 1981, p. 247 n. 183.

Lydia Gasman. "Mystery, Magic and Love in Picasso, 1925–1938: Picasso and the Surrealist Poets." PhD diss., Columbia University, 1981, pp. 689, 1720, pl. 189.

Carsten-Peter Warncke. Pablo Picasso, 1881–1973. Ed. Ingo F. Walther. Vol. 1, The Works 1890–1936. Cologne, 1992, p. 79, ill.

Anne Baldassari. Picasso photographe, 1901–1916. Exh. cat., Musée Picasso. Paris, 1994, p. 85 n. 110.

J[ason]. E[dward]. K[aufman]. "Perls Adds Gems to the Met." Art Newspaper no. 61 (July–August 1996), p. 14.

Kirk Varnedoe in Picasso and Portraiture: Representation and Transformation. Ed. William Rubin. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1996, p. 150, ill.

Herschel Chipp and Alan Wofsy, ed. The Picasso Project: Picasso's Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings and Sculpture, A Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue 1885-1973. Vol. 4, Toward Surrealism, 1925–1929. San Francisco, 1996, p. 84, no. 27-014, ill.

Sabine Rewald in "Recent Acquisitions. A Selection: 1996–1997." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 55 (Fall 1997), p. 76, ill.

Mila Andre. "Bien merci, Mme Schoenborn." Daily News (February 14, 1997), p. 63.

Ornella Volta. "Picasso and Italy: The Last Memories of His Journey." Picasso: The Italian Journey, 1917–1924. Ed. Jean Clair. Venice, 1998, p. 91, ill.

Elizabeth Cowling. Picasso: Style and Meaning. London, 2002, p. 486, fig. 449.

Anne Baldassari. Bacon–Picasso: The Life of Images. Exh. cat., Musée Picasso. Paris, 2005, pp. 74, 79, 111–12, figs. 48 and 104.

Julia May Boddewyn in Michael FitzGerald. Picasso and American Art. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, 2006, p. 337.