Still Life

  • Artist: Pablo Picasso
  • Creation date: 1927
  • Object type: Painting

On display: Room 068 The Collection Exhibition - Fragments of reality


Pablo Picasso’s life as an artist unfolded in phases defined by their highly diverging styles. Following his cubistic period, from 1917 to 1924 he developed an idiosyncratic variant of neo-classicism where he usually depicted human figures. Even though some of Picasso’s paintings from this period took up elements from the cubist idiom, his primary interest was in figurative aspects. But from 1924 another shift took place, and the formal problems of cubism returned to the fore in the following years. Once again it was the still-life genre that served as the basis for Picasso’s spatial play and experimentation, as evinced in the National Museum’s Still Life.

Unlike Picasso’s previous still lifes (1909–17), those from the latter half of the 1920s were executed on larger-sized canvases and are characterized by their intense colours. The depicted objects are often a guitar or mandolin, a variety of fruits, a bottle, and often also a patterned tablecloth. By adding a patterned tablecloth, curtains, or (as in Still Life) wallpaper, rhythm and variation is added to the surface. The cubist idiom – where layers overlap and elements merge with one another, making it hard to identify the individual objects – still pervades, but the objects and overall composition have more of a decorative effect. Picasso’s pictures from the late 1920s embody a sense of vitality and expressiveness, and we can detect a certain resemblance with the still lifes of Henri Matisse.

Text: Vibeke Waallann Hansen

From "Highlights. Art from Antiquity to 1945", Nasjonalmuseet 2014, ISBN 978-82-8154-088-0


Pablo Picasso

Visual artist

Born 1881 in Malaga, death 1973 in Mougins

Pablo Picasso is considered one of the most important and influential artists of the 20th century. He experimented with different styles throughout his artistic career, alternating between paintings, sculptures and prints. Along with Georges Braque, he developed a new visual style that came to be known as cubism.


Cubism reached its height from around 1907 to 1914, and underwent several phases. During this period Picasso painted a number of portraits and still lifes with motifs that were simplified and divided into planes. Most of the paintings had a muted colour scheme. In Guitar (1912), Picasso combines earthen and pastel colours, and breaks up the motif in an approach that is typical of cubism. The guitar referred to in the title of the painting is nearly unrecognisable.

Collaboration with Carl Nesjar

Picasso collaborated with the Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar for many years. Their association began with the high-rise block in the Government Quarter and continued with a number of freestanding concrete sculptures. One of the highlights of their collaboration is Fiskerne (The Fishermen), a drawing by Picasso that Nesjar sandblasted on the façade of the “Y-Block”. This building, designed by Erling Viksjø and completed in 1969, was demolished in 2020 despite strong protests.

The “Erotic Suite”

Picasso produced a large number of prints with a wide range of motifs. At the age of 87 he created a comprehensive series of prints, “Suite 347”, also known as the “Erotic Suite”. Several of the motifs feature Picasso himself, often together with a naked female model. These works were sometimes censored because of their erotic content and sexually explicit scenarios.

Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Stilleben (NOR)
Nature morte (FRE)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
Olje på lerret
  • Height: 73 cm
  • Width: 92 cm
Gift from the Friends of the National Gallery 1936
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Single object
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Lathion, Jacques/Jacques Lathion
© Picasso, Pablo/BONO