Portrait of Jacqueline

Cannes, 1957
Oil on canvas
116 x 89 cm
Museu Picasso, Barcelona
MPB 70.489


This portrait is Picasso’s expression of respect and gratitude to his partner, the only person beside Sabartés who had witnessed the ups and downs of the series and the artist’s preoccupations during the intense months of isolation in his studio at La Californie.

Like Philip IV and Queen Mariana, who were in the habit of watching Velázquez as he worked, Jacqueline used to visit Picasso on the upper floor of the house they shared. Velázquez immortalized one of those visits in Las Meninas, in a scene in which time seems to have been stopped by the entrance of the king and queen, who are reflected in the mirror at the back of the room. Picasso, in his very free paraphrase, surrounded this portrait of Jacqueline with a painted frame, as if it were the frame of a mirror.

Pablo Picasso

Málaga, 1881 – Mougins, 1973

In June 1895 he first visited the Prado museum with his father. In his sketchbook he made a copy of Velázquez’s The Buffoon Calabacillas and Niño de Vallecas. At his father’s prompting he enrolled at the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid for 1897-1898. He soon became distanced from the Academy, preferring to frequent the Prado, where he applied for permission to copy the pictures. There is a notable copy in oils of a portrait of Philip IV by Velázquez, and a page of sketches with a copy of The Fable of Arachne and a partial copy of Las Meninas, also by Velázquez. During his second stay in Madrid, in 1901, he painted Woman in Blue, a clear reference to Velázquez’s Mariana of Austria (Museo del Prado), and presented it at the Exposición General de Bellas Artes that year. In the summer of 1935 he travelled in Spain, and in Madrid visited the Prado again. In November 1936 the government appointed him honorary director of the Prado. Between August and December 1957, at La Californie (Cannes), he painted the series Las Meninas, that were donated by the artist himself to the Museu Picasso of Barcelona in 1968.