Past Exhibition

Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901

starstarstarstar "This show is not to be missed" The Times


starstarstarstarstar "“The Courtauld Gallery has excelled itself by mounting a tight, compelling, and beautifully installed exhibition, full of first-class works of art borrowed from important institutions around the world. Don’t miss it." The Telegraph


"The most exuberant, magnificently focused selection of early Picassos that I have encountered" The Financial Times


starstarstarstarstar "“The Courtauld Gallery, which has brought us a succession of tightly focused small exhibitions in recent years, has come up with another real stunner." The Independent



Pablo Picasso, Harlequin and Companion 1901

dwarf dancer

Pablo Picasso, Seated Harlequin

Discover the remarkable story of Pablo Picasso’s breakthrough year as an artist –1901.


It was the year that the ambitious nineteen-year-old launched his career in Paris with an exhibition that would set him on course to become one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.


Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 reunites major paintings from his debut exhibition with the influential dealer Ambroise Vollard.


These works show the young painter taking on and transforming the styles and subjects of major modern artists of the age, such as Van Gogh, Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec.


In the second half of 1901, Picasso radically changed the direction of his art, heralding the beginning of his now famous Blue period.


Inspired partly by the recent suicide of a close friend, Picasso produced a group of profoundly moving paintings of melancholic figures that are considered to be among his first masterpieces.


The works show Picasso’s desire to take on and reinvent the styles of major modern artists, including Van Gogh, Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec. The show was a success and launched Picasso’s career in Paris.


This exhibition brings together a spectacular group of these paintings, offering a unique opportunity to experience the birth of Picasso's genius.


arrow Watch an introduction to the exhibition by Curator Dr Barnaby Wright.


arrow Listen to an audio introduction to the exhibition by Curator Dr Barnaby Wright


arrow  A series of events including late openings, talks and a study day accompanies this exhibition.


arrow  Picasso, Matisse and Maillol: The Female Model - related drawings display (14  February - 26 May 2013)

arrow Download large print labels for Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901. Please feel free to print and bring with you. Copies are also available at the entrance to the exhibition.


Friends of The Courtauld

Olivier and Desiree Berggruen

The Lloyd Family Trusts


The Mayor Gallery

Embassy of Spain, Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs


And other who wish to remain anonymous



Image captions:

Top: Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Companion, 1901 The State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow © Succession Picasso / DACS 2012


Middle: Pablo Picasso The Dwarf (Dwarf-Dancer) , 1901 Plandiura acquisition, 1932 MPB 4.274 photograph credit: Centre of Knowledge and Research. Picasso Museum Barcelona. Gasull Fotografi © Succession Picasso / DACS 2012

Bottom: Pablo Picasso, Seated Harlequin, 1901 The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Art Resource/Scala, Florence © Succession Picasso / DACS 2012