Pablo Picasso. The Charnel House. Paris, 1944-45

Pablo Picasso

The Charnel House

Paris, 1944-45

Oil and charcoal on canvas
6' 6 5/8" x 8' 2 1/2" (199.8 x 250.1 cm)
Mrs. Sam A. Lewisohn Bequest (by exchange), and Mrs. Marya Bernard Fund in memory of her husband Dr. Bernard Bernard, and anonymous funds
Object number
© 2017 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Painting and Sculpture
This work is not on view.
Pablo Picasso has 1,242 works online.
There are 2,371 paintings online.

The Charnel House was Picasso’s most overtly political painting since Guernica of 1937 (now in the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid). Echoing Guernica in its pyramidal composition and abstracted forms, it was inspired by newspaper war photographs, the tones of which are reflected in its somber black–and–white palette. The central jumble of figures—a murdered family sprawled beneath a dining table—might suggest the piles of corpses discovered in Nazi concentration camps upon their liberation. While Guernica, a commentary on the Spanish Civil War, may be seen as signaling the violent beginning of World War II, The Charnel House marks its horrific end.

Gallery label from 2008

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
1945 - 1954, Pablo Picasso, Paris.

1954 - 1971, Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., New York and Warrenton, Virginia, purchased from the artist.

1971, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired by exchange and purchased from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.

If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please email or write to:

Provenance Research Project
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019

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).

If you would like to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA, please contact Scala Archives (all geographic locations) at

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or, please email If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to

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