Artwork of the week: "El paseo de Colón" (1917)

Pablo Picasso, “El paseo de Colón”, 1917
Pablo Picasso, “El paseo de Colón”, 1917
Óleo sobre tela. 40 cm x 32 cm
Donación Pablo Picasso, 1970
Museu Picasso Barcelona
© Sucesión Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2024

Despite its modest size, Picasso's El paseo de Colón, painted in 1917, stands as a testimony to the encounter between Pablo Picasso and Barcelona in that year. In this canvas, Picasso shows the views through a balcony from the Hotel Ranzini, located at number 22 Paseo de Colón.

The structure of the work reveals an obvious influence of Cubism, with its complementary perspectives taken from various points of view. The open balcony serves as a visual bridge between inside and outside, while the sides, delineated by folding shutters, play with shades of white and gray: bright and defined on the left and shadowy and blurred on the right.

The iron railing plays a key role in the depth of the composition, fragmenting in the reflection of the glass and extending in a "V" shape in its central dark shadow, while, in its more realistic rendering, it merges with the landscape, incorporating the flag waving from a nearby building.

Picasso painted this work from the perspective of the hotel where the members of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes were staying, who, fleeing the European conflict during World War I, presented in Barcelona the ballet Parade, for which Picasso had created the scenery and costumes. From this same balcony, the artist captured several portraits of Olga Khokhlova, one of the ballet dancers, who would become his first wife.


Ficha de la obra, Museu Picasso Barcelona: