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The Mother

Pablo Picasso, Spanish, 1881–1973
Oil on cardboard mounted on panel
Made in
Paris, Île-de-France, Western Europe, France, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 213
29 1/2 × 20 1/2 in. (74.9 × 52.1 cm)
framed: 38 × 29 × 2 1/8 in. (96.5 × 73.7 × 5.4 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
© Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY
Object Number
This work, painted by Pablo Picasso when he was just 20 years old, features a mother who grasps her toddler by the hand and holds her infant high against her shoulder. The woman stands resolute on the outskirts of a town or city, looking upon her surroundings with a determined gaze. The blue-gray tone of her skin is a precursor to Picasso’s Blue Period, during which time he depicted several downtrodden members of urban society in a palette of cool colors.
- 1914
La Peau de l'Ours Collection, Paris, France [1]

1914/03/02 -
Eugène Druet, Paris, France, purchased from the sale of the La Peau de l'Ours Collection at Hôtel Drouet, Paris, France, March 2, 1903, lot no. 64 [2]

Van de Velde Collection, The Hague, The Netherlands [3]

1927 - still in 1936
Chester Dale (1883-1962), New York, NY, USA [4]

- 1939
Valentine Gallery (Valentine Dudensing), New York, NY

1939/01/06 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Valentine Gallery [5]

The main source for this provenance is the catalogue raisonné of Picasso's paintings from 1900-1906, cat. no.V.9 [Daix, Pierre and Georges Boudaille. "Picasso, The Blue and Rose Periods: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings 1990 1906." Greenwich, CT: New York Graphic Society Ltd., 1967]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] La Peau de l'Ours was an art collection club founded by André Level [Gee, Malcom. "Dealers, Critics, and Collectors of Modern Painting: Aspects of the Parisian Art Market between 1910-1930." New York: Garland, 1981, p. 23].

[2] According to an annotated auction catalog at the Frick Art Reference Library, Druet was the buyer. Eugène Druet, owner of Galerie Druet, was also the appraiser at this auction ["Collection de la 'Peau de l'Ours.'" Paris: Hôtel Drouet, 1914, cat. no. 64]. The catalogue raisonné mistakenly lists the painting as lot no. 62 instead of 64.

[3] It is possible that this is Pieter van der Velde (1848-1922), a Dutch collector who settled in Havré, Belgium after 1870. The only known source of information on this collector is a 1968 study of his collection, which contains a list of works known to be in his collection. An unidentified Picasso is listed which might be this painting [Walter, Rudolphe. "Pieter can der Velde: Un Amateur Éclairé." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 72 (October 1968): 203-206].

[4] According to a letter dated December 30, 1938 from Valentine Dudensing, Chester Dale purchased the painting in 1927 [SLAM document files]. The painting was listed as being in the Chester Dale collection in a 1936 publication [Bulliet, C.J. "The Significant Moderns and their Pictures." New York: Covici Friede, 1936, fig. no. 99]. In a letter dated January 6, 1939, Valentine Dudensing indicates that he would prefer that "for the time being" the fact the picture came from the Chester Dale collection not be revealed [SLAM document files]. This seems to suggest that the picture came directly from the Dale collection to Valentine Gallery.

[5] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, February 9, 1939.
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