Composition with Violin

Pablo Picasso Spanish

Not on view

In this two-dimensional variant of one of Picasso’s paperboard-and-string constructions, the illegible newsprint laid on its side evokes the fine grain of a violin’s wood case. The map of lines surrounding the instrument, perhaps indicating where other cutouts might go, recalls the gridlike structure of many trompe l’oeil board paintings (including the nearby Harnett). To judge by the violin’s long, narrow form and pointed lower section, Picasso had a “kit” in mind. Small enough to be kept in a pocket, kit violins were used by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century dance teachers and street musicians and occasionally appear tucked behind straps in letter-rack paintings.

Composition with Violin, Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France), Cut-and-pasted newspaper, graphite, charcoal, and ink on white laid paper; subsequently mounted to paperboard

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