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A Picasso Lost . . . And Found

Thomas P. Campbell
June 1, 2010

«Eight curators, five conservators, five research scientists, and eight researchers worked together for nearly a year to create our current exhibitionPicasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art and its accompanying catalogue, shedding new light on a subject that one might think had been completely exhausted. Their work revealed many important discoveries, but perhaps none more compelling than the identification of a long-lost painting by the master.»

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973). The Blind Man's Meal, 1903. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt Gift, 1950 (50.188). © 2010 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

X-rays of the 1903 painting The Blind Man's Meal reveal an earlier work beneath the paint's surface: a crouching female figure whose posture matches that seen in a painting depicted in the 1903 canvas La Vie, now in The Cleveland Museum of Art (see image).

X-radiograph of the painting The Blind Man's Meal.

Indeed, it is likely that this original painting was in Picasso's studio at the time he painted La Vie. Scholars have long sought the original version of this work, which Picasso appears to have scraped off the canvas before beginning The Blind Man's Meal.

This exciting discovery is just one of the highlights included in the following video, in which I discuss the exhibition with its curator, Gary Tinterow. Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been extended and will now be on view through August 15, 2010.

Thomas Campbell

Thomas P. Campbell was formerly the director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.