Bottle of Bass and Glass

Pablo Picasso Spanish

Not on view

Picasso plays with expectations. What might normally be printed—the label on the bottle at center—is deliberately hand-drawn, while what is traditionally handwritten—the artist’s signature—is stenciled within the outline of a dog-eared calling card at lower right. A diagonal representing a shimmering ray of light separates the “B” from the “AS” and energizes the composition. Ostensibly, “BAS” stands for the popular British import Bass ale (to which Braque and Picasso clearly refer in other Cubist works), but here the “B” is depicted as if it were the liquid itself entering the glass. Meanwhile the remaining letters—“AS”—spell the French word for “ace,” which is precisely what Picasso depicts below.

Bottle of Bass and Glass, Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France), Enamel and oil on canvas

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