5 Picasso Museums To Visit in Europe

October 19, 2020

One of the most important figures of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso continuously experimented throughout his career, completely redefining artistic practice and its purpose. Not only a master painter but also a sculptor, printmaker, ceramics artist, etching artist and writer, Picasso's work matured from the naturalism of his childhood through Cubism, Surrealism and beyond, shaping the direction of modern and contemporary art through the decades. Picasso's works are characterized by an ingenious use of form, color, and perspective that profoundly impacted generations of painters.

There is a number of Picasso museums honoring his enduring legacy and housing intriguing and influential collections of his masterpieces. Here are five museums in Europe that you can make pilgrimage to.

It is also worth checking out other museums in Europe, which are not solely dedicated to Picasso, but hold extensive collections of Picasso's work, such as Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, Museum Sammlung Rosengart in Lucerne, and Museum Ludwig in Cologne.

Featured image: The interior of Musée Picasso, Paris, via jivedanson.

Musée Picasso, Paris

Housed in the Hôtel Salé, a private mansion the in 3rd arrondissement of Paris, France, Musée Picasso showcases the master's art in the multiple exhibition areas divided between highly-contemporary architecture and patrimonial spaces.

The museum's collection holds over 5,000 works and tens of thousands of archived pieces, being the only one in the world to present both Picasso’s complete painted, sculpted, engraved and illustrated oeuvre and a precise record of the artist’s creative process through sketches, studies, drafts, notebooks, etchings in various stages, photographs, illustrated books, films and documents.

Spanning Picasso's entire career, the museum collection holds works such as Self-portrait and La Celestina, produced during his Blue period to the Kiss, Large Nudes, and Matadors and Musucians in his final years. Among highlights are large preparatory paintings for the Young Ladies in Avignon; Still Life with Chair Caning from 1912; Man with Guitar and Man with Mandolin created between 1911 and 1913; an exceptional series of assemblages, decoupages and constructions from his Cubist period; an extraordinary sequence of Surrealist paintings from 1924-1930; “war paintings” depicting the Spanish Civil War; and diverse paintings and sculptures from the 1950s pop art period. You can explore the museum's online collection here.

Featured image: The courtyard of the Musée Picasso, Paris. Image by Ibex73 via Creative Commons.

Museu Picasso, Barcelona

Occupying five large town houses or palaces on the street carrer de Montcada, Museu Picasso in Barcelona is a key reference for understanding the formative years of Picasso, while revealing the artist's deep relationship with the city. As the art critic Joan Ainaud de Lasarte explained, it is "the result of a friendship and the connection between a man and his city, the friendship between Jaume Sabartés and Picasso, and Picasso's memories of Barcelona."

The Barcelona museum's permanent collection is comprised of 4,251 works, practically exhaustive up to the Blue Period. The museum also houses an important representation of Picasso's works from 1917, and the series Las Meninas from 1957 as well as a comprehensive print collection. Among highlights is Man in a Beret from 1895, Riera de Sant Joan Street, from the window in the artist’s studio from 1900, Woman with Bonnet from 1901, The Offering from 1908, The Passeig de Colom from 1917, Minotauromachy from 1935 and Las Meninas (Infanta Margarita María) from 1957. You can also browse the museum's collection online.

Featured image: Museu Picasso, Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain). Image by haitham alfalahvia via Creative Commons.

Fundación Picasso and Museo Picasso Málaga

Governed by the Fundación Museo Picasso Málaga, Museo Picasso Málaga is housed in the Palacio de Buenavista in Málaga, Spain, a magnificent example of 16th-century Andalusian architecture with its characteristic mixture of Renaissance and Mudéjar elements.

Periodically refreshing, and thus revising, its permanent collection, the museum is organized through a thematic and chronological layout, grouping the artist's works together in a way that helps visitors understand his artistic processes. Covering almost 80 years of Pablo Picasso’s work, the museum's collection comprises of almost 400 works - 233 works belonging to Museo Picasso Málaga and 162 from Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte (FABA). Among highlights is the sculpture Glass of Absinthe from 1914, Still Life With Minotaur and Palette from 1938, Reclining Bather from 1931, Head of a Woman (Dora Maar) from 1939, Woman in an Armchair (Francoise Gilot) from 1946, Bust of Woman with Arms Crossed Behind Her Head from 1939, Musketeer with Sword from 1972, Bust of a Man from 1965, Jacqueline Seated from 1954, and Insect from 1951. You can browse through selected works online.

Featured image: Museo Picasso Málaga, via Andrew Howson.

Musée Picasso, Antibes

Housed in the Château Grimaldi in Antibes, in southeastern France, on the Mediterranean Sea, The Musée Picasso was the first museum in the world to be dedicated to the artist.

In 1946, Picasso set up his studio in the Castle for six months, creating many works, sketches and paintings, including Les Clés d’Antibes (The Keys of Antibes). After moving back to Paris, he left 23 paintings and 44 sketches in the Castle’s custody. Over the years, the collection was further enriched with 78 Picasso's ceramic works created between 1947 and 1948 at Madoura de Vallauris’ workshop, various donations and purchases spanning from 1952 until the present day, as well as the custody pieces conferred by Jacqueline Picasso in 1991, among others. Today the collection totals 245 works by Picasso.

Featured image: Musée Picasso, Antibes. Image by Clemensfranz via Creative Commons.

Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso Münster

Germany's only Picasso museum, Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso Münster houses the world's most extensive collection of Pablo Picasso's lithographs as well as other Picasso holdings in various artistic techniques and from different creative periods. These works are accompanied by large groups of works by his artistic colleagues Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Joan Miró and Henri Matisse. The museum is located on Picassoplatz in the Königsstraße, the former noblest street in the old town, in two historical buildings made available by the Sparkasse.

A house of constant change, the Museum illuminates the multifaceted oeuvre of the artist and reveals cross-references with his artistic companions through a range of changing exhibitions. The collection includes over 800 prints, including almost the entire lithographic oeuvre of the Spanish artist, such as The Woman with the Green Hair from 1949 and The Bull from 1946 The Suite Vollard, a series of one hundred graphic art works created between 1930 and 1937, including Minotaur caressing a sleeping woman from 1933 and Sculptor and kneeling model from 1933; and 101 linocuts by the artist, including Faun and goat from 1959 and Small female head crowned with flowers from 1962.

Featured image: Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso Münster. Image by Rüdiger Wölk via Creative Commons.

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