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Pablo Picasso. Guitar. Paris, October-December 1912

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)


Paris, October-December 1912
Paperboard, paper, thread, string, twine, and coated wire
25 3/4 x 13 x 7 1/2" (65.4 x 33 x 19 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Number:
© 2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Audio Program excerpt

Picasso: Guitars 1912–1914

, February 13–June 6, 2011

Director, Glenn Lowry: Picasso crafted his Guitar and hung it on his studio walls sometimes as an individual object and at other times as part of larger still life compositions. This is the first time outside of that setting that the Guitar has been installed together with the tabletop resting beneath it.

Conservator, Scott Gerson: The body of the guitar has been folded onto itself in a shape that's similar to a box. The box is held together by sewn stitches. The components have been cut from pieces of cardboard or paper. These very basic materials make their way into the artist's palette.

Curator, Anne Umland: One of the parts of this object that is seen as being most radical is the way that he created the sound hole. If you conjure in your mind a real guitar, the sound hole registers as a negative. But Picasso has cut away the front of his instrument and then created a cylinder from cardboard, to give something that is intangible a defined volume.

Picasso wasn't trained as a sculptor. There's a declared lack of interest in fine finish, or craftsmanship. The edges are a little jagged. The glue shows. The strings are imperfectly tied. It's not about making something perfect. That wasn't the intention. It's that Picasso can make this incredibly sort of magical, alluring object out of virtually nothing.

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