Pablo Picasso

The Small Table

In this Synthetic Cubist work, Picasso transforms the genre of still life by constructing a unified composition from abstracted fragments of objects. Among traditional still life elements that can be deciphered are the fret, knobs, and strings of a guitar, the compote with grapes, and the legs and wood grain surface of a table. From the more conventional renderings Picasso made during the same summer vacation on the Riviera, we know that the setting of this painting is a balcony opened onto the sea on a slightly grey day; the water's surface is suggested by the undulating lines that alternate with ideograms evoking crests of waves and seagulls.

– still in 1955
in possession of the artist [1]

by 1957 – 1957/09/18
Galerie Nathan (Dr. Fritz Nathan, 1895–1972, and his son, Dr. Peter Nathan), Zürich, Switzerland [2]

1957/09/18 –
National Gallery of Canada, purchased from Dr. Fritz Nathan and Dr. Peter Nathan [3]

[1] The work was included in an exhibition that toured France and Germany in 1955. The exhibition catalogue lists the painting as being owned by the artist [Wilhelm Boeck, Jaime Sabartés. “Picasso.” New York: H.N. Abrams 1955, p.466, no. 93 and biography, no. 168. “Picasso. Peintures 1900-1955.” Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris June–October 1955, no. 48. The exhibition was also shown in Hamburg, Munich and Cologne the following year. The German translation of the catalogue gives identical information].

[2] Discussions between the NGC and the Galerie Nathan about the purchase of the work started in May 1957. It officially entered the NGC collection on September 18,1957 [Accession records, NGC curatorial file].

[3] See note [2]. Accession Log [NGC curatorial file].

The Small Table
oil on canvas
115.3 x 73 cm
Spanish; French
Credit line
Purchased 1957
Accession number