Another Picasso for Grenoble

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
The Glass, 1914
Pasted Paper Technique, pined, Gouache
and Charcoal - 27 x 25 cm
Grenoble, Musée
Photo : Succession Picasso 2012

24/02/12 - Acquisition - Grenoble, Museum - How does one acquire a Picasso worth 750,000€ with an annual acquisitions budget of only 390,000€ ? The Museum in Grenoble has found the magic formula thanks to its Club de mécènes : the companies, members of this association, which have generously financed 80% of the purchase price for this work, have benefited from a 90% tax deduction after the listing of this Picasso as a “work of major heritage interest” by the Commission consultative des trésors nationaux at the French Ministry of Culture. This very rare measure allows a work to remain on French soil by encouraging firms to contribute to its acquisition.
Thus, Picasso’s The Glass (ill.), a “papier collé” (pasted paper technique) from 1914 which was formerly part of the Marina Picasso collection, now purchased from the Schmit Gallery in Paris, has just joined the museum which already owns other works by the master, notably The Reader and The Musketeer as a Child. This work on paper is a beautiful example of Synthetic Cubism, the second phase of the movement developed by Braque and Picasso between 1912 and 1914, characterized notably by the introduction of collages – newspaper, oilcloth, wallpaper… - opposing different levels of reality and space.

Just like the bottle, the pipe or a string instrument, the glass is a recurring motif found in other Cubist works, its major attraction being its transparency and power of optical diffraction. It can be found in Bottle with Vieux-Marc, Glass and Newspaper (1913) where the artist juxtaposes white paper, wallpaper and colored paper, with charcoal highlights, held together with a pin ; it imposes itself also in Ace of Clubs, Glass, Guitar Element (1914) where it appears twice, in pencil and painted in black on two papers also held together by a pin.
In fact, The Glass from Grenoble is particularly sober compared to those works composed of different textures and color tones : here, there is just a paper in white gouache glued onto a beige background, producing almost an effect of tone-on-tone. The shapes do not overlap, the charcoal completes the form of the paper but without following the contours ; the precise lines seem to convey the light rays entering through the back of the glass which come to die progressively at its foot. Of the 130 papier collés which Picasso produced between 1912 and 1914, only thirteen are pinned. However, the pin plays a very interesting role since it is seen not only as a three-dimensional object but also allows the two layers to exist on different levels, as opposed to using glue ; it also creates a slight shadow between the two surfaces, thus introducing a plastic and spatial effect into the composition. Finally, the pin holds the papers together with a “feigned negligence” [1] adding a slightly ironic touch to the whole.

Version française

Bénédicte Bonnet Saint-Georges, lundi 27 février 2012


[1] Isabelle Monod-Fontaine, Pablo Picasso, 1912. Catalogue, Centre Pompidou, MNAM, Paris 2008.

imprimer Print this article

Previous article in News Items : Recent Acquisitions at the Musée de la Révolution française in Vizille

Next article in News Items : The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford Launches a Campaign to Save a Manet