Famille d'acrobates avec singe

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Pablo Picasso, 1905, Acrobat's Family with a Monkey (Famille au Singe), gouache, watercolour, pastel and Indian ink on cardboard, 104 x 75 cm

Famille d'acrobates avec singe (French: "Family of acrobats with monkey") is a 1905 painting by Pablo Picasso. The work was made on cardboard using mixed media: gouache, watercolour, pastel and Indian ink. It measures 104 cm × 75 cm (41 in × 30 in) and is held by the Gothenburg Museum of Art. The work was painted at a key phase in Picasso's life, as he made the transition from an impoverished bohemian at the start of 1905 to a successful artist by the end of 1906.

After achieving some early success in 1901, Picasso was still struggling by 1905, living in penury in Montmartre. The work was painted at the new studio that he took on the top floor of the dilapidated building at 13 rue Ravignan [fr], which the poet Max Jacob termed the "Le Bateau-Lavoir". Other floors were occupied by other artists. The Cirque Médrano was nearby, and Picasso was inspired by the harlequins and saltimbanques, clowns, jugglers and other acts, making the transition from his melancholy Blue period to his more optimistic Rose period.

The painting depicts a thin male acrobat in a tight pink harlequin outfit with bicorn hat, sitting on a drum to the left of a woman in a blue dress. They are both looking at an infant boy child held by the woman. Lower down and further to the right is a baboon, which is also looking up at the child. The subjects may all be circus performers, resting off stage between acts. There are splashes of greens and blues in the background, and red on the floor, perhaps part of a circus tent. The man's orange bicorn hat is unpainted and is the colour of the cardboard ground. The figures are arranged in a pyramidal composition, based on classical images of the Holy Family. It is signed "Picasso" and on the rear "P 1905". The woman may be Madeleine, Picasso's mistresses from 1904 to 1905, also depicted in his late Blue period painting Girl in a Chemise.

Picasso sold the painting to the Galerie du Vingtième Siècle run by art dealer Clovis Sagot [fr; de] near the gallery of Ambroise Vollard. It was the first of three Rose period paintings acquired by the collectors Gertrude Stein and Leo Stein. The Stein siblings had been living in Paris from 1903, and began collecting contemporary artworks in 1904, buying works by Cézanne, Gauguin and Renoir from Ambroise Vollard. Sagot sold Picasso's Famille d'acrobates avec singe (1905) to Leo Stein. The couple later acquired Fillette à la corbeille fleurie (1905) from Sagot, and then Femme au bras levé (1905) direct from the artist.

The painting was sold by Gertrude Stein in 1992, and bought by the Gothenburg Museum of Art.

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