Early in May 1930, Picasso was horrified to discover that a number of early works he had left in the family’s Barcelona apartment for safekeeping had been stolen and were being offered for sale on the Paris market. After realizing the extent of the theft—391 drawings and ten paintings—he brought a lawsuit against the perpetrators… The fight to get his early work back would last eight years. It would stir up a storm of animosity and set Picasso against his mother and his sister’s family in Barcelona…

“How well I understand,” Picasso concluded, “why papas and mamas tell their children to stop scribbling on bits of paper. The brats don’t realize the difficulties this will create in the future.” John Richardson, A Life of Picasso*

The exhibition PICASSO AND PAPER explores the artist’s manipulation of the medium, bringing together his prints, studies, collages, letters, illustrated poems, photographic collaborations with Dora Maar, and endless drawings—on artist’s paper, on newsprint, on napkins, “scribbling on bits of paper.”


Through April 13

Royal Academy of Arts

Burlington House, Piccadilly, London.

*John Richardson, A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917–1932 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007), 403, 407.

Pablo Picasso, Picasso and Paper, Royal Academy of Arts, January 25–April 13, 2020, from top: Violin, 1912, laid paper, wallpaper, newspaper, wove wrapping paper and glazed black wove paper, cut and pasted onto cardboard, pencil, charcoal, Musée national Picasso-Paris, photograph © Mathieu Rabeau; Seated Woman (Dora), 1938, ink, gouache, and colored chalk on paper, Fondation Beyeler, photograph by Peter Schibli; “Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe” after Manet I, 1962, linocut on Arches wove paper (printed by Arnéra in six passes), Musée national Picasso-Paris, photograph © Marine Beck-Coppola; Self-Portrait, 1918, pencil and charcoal on wove paper, Musée national Picasso-Paris, photograph © Mathieu Rabeau; Bust of Woman or Sailor (Study for “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”), 1907, oil on cardboard, Musée national Picasso-Paris, photograph © Adrien Didierjean; Head of a Woman, 1962, pencil on cut and folded wove paper from an album sheet, Musée national Picasso-Paris, photograph © Béatrice Hatala. Photographs © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée national Picasso-Paris); images © Succession Picasso / DACS 2019.

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