Collection 1880s–1940s


Picasso, Rousseau, and the Paris Avant-Garde

Oct 25, 2021–Mar 10, 2024


Pablo Picasso. Still Life with Liqueur Bottle. Horta de San Joan, August 1909. Oil on canvas, 32 1/8 x 25 3/4" (81.6 x 65.4 cm). Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund. © 2022 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • MoMA, Floor 5, 503 The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries

“Long live Rousseau!” These words appeared on a banner decorating a party organized by Pablo Picasso in Paris in 1908. The guest of honor, Henri Rousseau, was a self-taught painter who, despite having been dismissed by the Paris art world, had captured the imagination of Picasso and his milieu. They saw in Rousseau’s work an authentic voice far more vital than what was taught in art academies.

United by a shared dissatisfaction with Western tradition, these artists looked elsewhere for inspiration for their own innovations. Rousseau conjured imaginary jungle scenes from sources such as popular magazines and visits to Paris’s botanical garden and zoo. Picasso and his peers looked directly to African sculpture and masks, which many of them avidly collected. This new awareness of African culture, imported into France via colonial channels, was pivotal in the formation of Cubism.

Organized by Cara Manes, Associate Curator, with Lydia Mullin, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture.

19 works online


Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].