Picasso’s sketchbooks first came into public view in 1986, when Pace gallery organised Je Suis le Cahier—a ground-breaking exhibition in New York of 45 sketchbooks, which subsequently travelled to museums around the world including the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and the Kunsthaus Zurich.
Now, 50 years after Picasso’s death on 8 April 1973, the gallery is once again presenting an exhibition in New York of 14 of the artist’s sketchbooks, created between 1900 and 1959. Opening this autumn (10 November-23 December), the books will be exhibited alongside related ceramics, paintings, photographs, films and archival materials.
Picasso made constant use of his sketchbooks, creating them alongside well-known bodies of work, though he kept them private during his lifetime. One, dating from 1907 and due to go on show in New York, contains a series of studies for figures that were incorporated later that year into the artist’s painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Another, filled during his honeymoon with the Russian ballet dancer Olga Khokhlova in Biarritz in 1918, includes an unfamiliar self-portrait. A third album, from 1924 and created in Juan-les-Pins on the French Riviera, opens with 18 pages of pen-and-ink variations on guitars.
All sketchbooks have been loaned from private collections and are not for sale. A spokeswoman notes that Picasso’s estate “doesn’t work specifically with any galleries”, though notes that Pace has “worked with members of the Picasso family for more than 40 years”. The New York show has been organised in collaboration with the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso in Madrid.