Exhibitions/ Art Object

The Absinthe Glass

Artist:
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France)
Date:
Paris, spring 1914
Medium:
Painted bronze and perforated tin absinthe spoon
Dimensions:
8 7/8 x 5 x 2 1/2 in. (22.5 x 12.7 x 6.4 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2018 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
In an age when sculpture usually meant allegorical figures and portrait busts, Picasso’s life-size rendering of a glass of alcohol was shocking for its banality. Cast in bronze in an edition of six, and then hand-painted, none of the finished works is colored green, so it was clearly not absinthe’s distinctive color that inspired Picasso. Nor does he seem to have been moved by the national debate about whether to ban the potent liquor. Instead, absinthe presented Picasso with the opportunity to incorporate an actual piece of cutlery, a trowel-shaped, slotted spoon designed to hold a sugar cube over the rim of a glass when preparing the drink. When asked about the sculpture years later, Picasso remembered that he had been particularly intrigued by “the relationship between the real spoon and the modeled glass. In the way they clashed with each other.”
Inscription: Signed (near the base): P
[Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris, by July 17, 1914; photo nos. 356, 392; sequestered Kahnweiler stock, December 12, 1914–21; first Kahnweiler sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 13–14, 1921, no. 139 (comprised of 5 painted bronze casts of "The Absinthe Glass," each sold individually for Fr 55 to Fr 100)]; Henry Ford II, Grosse Pointe, Michigan (until d. 1987; his estate (1987–90; his estate sale, Sotheby’s, New York, November 12, 1990, no. 25, sold to Krugier); [Jan Krugier& Cie, Geneva, 1990–91; sold in April 1991 to Lauder]; Leonard A. Lauder, New York (from 1991)

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Objects of Desire: The Modern Still Life," May 25–August 26, 1997, no. 29.

London. Hayward Gallery. "Objects of Desire: The Modern Still Life," October 9, 1997–January 4, 1998, no. 29.

Paris. Centre Georges Pompidou. "Picasso: Sculpteur," June 7–September 29, 2000, no. 33.

New York. Gagosian Gallery. "The Sculptures of Pablo Picasso," April 3–May 10, 2003, unnumbered cat. (pp. 37, 109).

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Picasso and American Art," September 28, 2006–February 4, 2007, unnumbered cat. (pl. 146).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection," October 20, 2014–February 16, 2015, no. 75.

Maurice Raynal. Picasso. Munich, 1921, unpaginated (list of illustrations), ill. no. 60.

Maurice Raynal. Picasso. Paris, 1922, unpaginated (list of illustrations), ill. no. 60.

Carl Einstein. Die Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts. 2nd ed. Berlin, 1928, pp. 84–85.

Eugenio d'Ors. Pablo Picasso. Paris, 1930, n.p., pl. 48.

Carola Giedion-Welcker. Modern Plastik: Elemente der Wirklichkeit. Masse und Auflockerung. Zürich, 1937, pp. 64, ill. 65, 164.

Jean Cassou. Picasso. London, 1940, ill. p 160, erroneously identified as plaster statuette.

Christian Zervos. Pablo Picasso. Vol. 2b, Works from 1912 to 1917. Paris, 1942, unpaginated (list of plates), no. 583, pl. 268.

Paul Éluard. À Pablo Picasso. Geneva, 1945, ill. p. 85.

Carola Giedion-Welcker. Contemporary Sculpture: An Evolution in Volume and Space. New York, 1955, p. 279, ill. p. 80, erroneously as in the collection of Curt Burgauer, Zurich.

Piero Dorazio. La fantasia dell'arte nella vita moderna. Rome, 1955, ill. n.p.

Carola Giedion-Welcker. Contemporary Sculpture: An Evolution in Volume and Space. 3rd ed. New York, 1960, ill. p. 88, erroneously as in the collection of Curt Burgauer, Zurich.

Pierre Cabanne. L'épopée du Cubisme. Paris, 1963, pp. 313–15.

Werner Spies. Sculpture by Picasso, with a Catalogue of the Works. New York, 1971, pp. 27, 48–51, 73, 98, 100, 141–42, 173, 221–22, 302.

Franco Russoli and Fiorella Minervino. L'opera completa di Picasso cubista. Milan, 1972, p. 123, no. 780, ill. p. 124.

Françoise Cachin and Fiorella Minervino. Tout l'oeuvre peint de Picasso, 1907–1916. Paris, 1977, p. 123, no. 780 ill. p. 124.

Pierre Daix and Joan Rosselet. Picasso, The Cubist Years, 1907–1916: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings and Related Works. Boston, 1979, p. 332, no. 758, ill.

Brooks Adams. "Picasso's Absinth Glasses: Six Drinks to the End of an Era." Artforum 18, no. 8 (April 1980), p. 33, ill. p. 30.

Werner Spies with Christine Piot. Pablo Picasso: Das Plastische Werk: Werkverzeichnis der Skulpturen. Exh. cat., Nationalgalerie Berlin. Stuttgart, 1983, pp. 71–75, 373, no. 36f, ill. p. 328.

Barnaby Conrad III. Absinthe: History in a Bottle. San Francisco, 1988, p. 83.

Rita Reif. "Renoir’s ‘Cup of Chocolate’ Sells for $18.2 Million." New York Times (November 13, 1990), p. C13.

Carsten-Peter Warncke. Pablo Picasso, 1881–1973. Ed. Ingo F. Walther. Vol. 1, The Works 1890–1936. Cologne, 1992, vol. 1, pp. 228, 231, ill. p. 232.

Margit Rowell. Objects of Desire: The Modern Still Life. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1997, p. 224, pl. 29.

Karl-Heinz Brosthaus. Die Plastik “Le verre d’absinthe” von Pablo Picasso im Kontext der kubistischen Skulptur. PhD diss.Münster, 1997, pp. 18, 108, 124–66, 247, fig. 19.

Werner Spies with Christine Piot. Picasso: The Sculptures. Exh. cat., Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Ostfildern-Ruit, 2000, pp. 63, 84–90, 103–4, 110, 395, no. 36f, ill. pp. 86, 348 (French ed., pp. 63, 84–91, 103–4, 110, 395, no. 36f, p. 437, no. 33, ill. pp. 86, 348).

Pavla Sadílková and Lada Hubatová-Vacková in Vincenc Kramář: Un théorician et collectionneur du cubisme à Prague. Exh. cat.Paris, 2002, p. 237.

Robert Rosenblum in The Sculptures of Pablo Picasso. Exh. cat., Gagosian Gallery. New York, 2003, pp. 25–26.

The Sculptures of Pablo Picasso. Exh. cat., Gagosian Gallery. New York, 2003, p. 36, ill. pp. 19 (installed at Gagosian Gallery, New York), 37, 109.

Diana Widmaier Picasso in The Sculptures of Pablo Picasso. Exh. cat., Gagosian Gallery. New York, 2003, p. 3.

Michael FitzGerald. Picasso and American Art. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, 2006, pp. 253, 258, 280, 386, pl. 146.

Pierre Daix. Le nouveau dictionnaire Picasso. Paris, 2012, p. 885.

"Objects Promised to the Museum during the Year 2012–2013." The Metropolitan Museum of Art, One Hundred Forty-third Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013 (2013), p. 46.

Rebecca Rabinow in Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection. Ed. Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2014, pp. 157–59, no. 75, ill. p. 158 (color).

Anna Jozefacka and Luise Mahler in Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection. Ed. Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2014, pp. 298–99, fig. 75 (as no. 60 in Ref. Raynal 1921).

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Ann Temkin and Anne Umland, ed. Picasso Sculpture. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 2015, p. 95, pl. 24 (color).

Luise Mahler in Picasso Sculpture. Ed. Ann Temkin Anne Umland. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 2015, pp. 304, 306, 308, pl. 24.

Nancy Lim and Luise Mahler in Picasso Sculpture. Ed. Ann Temkin Anne Umland. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 2015, p. 299, pl. 24.

Luise Mahler, and Virginie Perdrisot, with Rebecca Lowery in Picasso Sculpture. Ed. Anne Umland Ann Temkin. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 2015, pp. 79–80, 110, 112, 215, 289 ns61 and 67, pl. 24.

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Kenneth E. Silver in Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation, and Change. Exh. cat., Barnes Foundation. New York, 2016, p. 20.

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1 of an edition of 6 cast bronzes, each uniquely treated