Liverpool artwork of the day – Wednesday April 25 2007. ‘Portrait of Pau Cucurny with a dog’ Pablo Picasso (Malaga, Spain 1881 – 1973 Mougins, France) at the Walker
With the end of the Doves and Dreams exhibition there’s a gap in the special exhibitions schedule. I quite enjoy these as it gives us some time to appreciate more of the other fine things in the Walkers collection.
I’m not sure if this is actually on display in the gallery or locked away in the archive but its part of the ‘Catalogue of Foreign Art Acquisitions, 1984-2006’
This is the first ever permanent collection catalogue to be published on National Museums Liverpool’s web pages by the Walker Art Gallery. It presents full catalogue entries, annotated and illustrated, of all the foreign paintings, drawings and sculptures acquired by the Gallery between 1984 and 2004, which have not previously been published in other forms.
So you can see and enjoy the whole thing online
Details of this picture
Until recently the man in this sketched portrait was anonymous, but research in the Francesc Serra photographic collection of the Barcelona city archives has recently helped identify him.
Pau Cucurny (or Paul Cucurny, Pau being the Catalan for Paul) was an art enthusiast and son of Màrius Cucurny i Guiu, the owner of a factory manufacturing fireproof material in Hospitalet de Llobregat, a town (now a suburb) south-west of Barcelona.
Though Pau Cucurny was not an artist he enjoyed frequenting the same bohemian circles of struggling painters and poets in Barcelona as the young Picasso, particularly those linked to the artist-run bar/restaurant, Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats) in Carrer Montsió near the Ramblas in Barcelona. It was probably there that Picasso first met him. He continued his acquaintance in Paris, where Picasso’s close friend and studio companion, Carles Casagemas, mentioned a chance encounter with Cucurny in a letter of October 1900.
Picasso may well also have drawn this quick portrait sketch of Cucurny in Els Quatre Gats, as the dog looks similar to the one owned by one of the bar owners, Pere Romeu, which features in the foreground of a poster design that Picasso drew for Els Quatre Gats in 1902. The tavern closed down in June 1903 and Cucurny died shortly afterwards still a bachelor.