Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

email signup
Search Collections

David Douglas Duncan

Picasso

previous / index

Charcoal self-portrait drawing by Pablo Picasso, showing himself painting at an easel.

"One morning late in the spring of 1961, while photographing Picasso's private collection of his own work . . . I came upon a gaunt self-portrait of the artist. It was just stark charcoal on canvas, almost skeletal, nearly life-size, dated 22 March, 1938, and totally unknown . . . Like nearly all of Picasso's hidden canvases, it was veiled under decades of dust that had to be cleaned away before I could use my color cameras. I swept it with a feather duster--and my heart nearly burst! The charcoal had never been fixed. His face was now little more than a faint tracing seen through smeared charcoal and dust . . . this still secret self-portrait was ruined." Goodbye Picasso, p. 2.