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Picasso from Malaga to La Coruña

The A Coruña period is the most unknown, but no less important of our local lad Pablo Ruiz Picasso

Picasso spent a chapter of his life in La Coruña, where his colossal talent began to flourish. Despite its relative obscurity, this era was greatly valued by Pablo Ruiz Picasso himself, who at times considered it superior to his much-lauded Blue or Rose periods, according to one of his leading biographers, John Richardson.

During his time in La Coruña, he produced over 200 pieces, now housed in the world's most renowned Picasso museums (Paris, Barcelona, and Málaga) or in private collections. For example, the Portrait of Modesto Castilla Dressed as a Moor, which was auctioned off for 2.6 million euros in 2012, is the most expensive painting of a child ever sold - painted by Picasso when he was just 13.

Everything started in October 1891, when 9-year-old Pablo Ruiz Picasso, his sisters Conchita and Lola, and their mother María moved from their native Málaga to Galicia after their father, José Ruiz Blasco, secured a teaching position at the Provincial School of Fine Arts in La Coruña. The young Andalusian lad attended the local school and art academy for three years, primarily learning from his father, Román Navarro, and Isidoro Brocos.

Learning and developing your art

In La Coruña, he delved deeper into themes such as pigeons, bulls, and fauns, which later became iconic in his triumphant career. The city is also where the artist, then signing his work as “P. Ruiz”, created what are considered his first significant pieces, such as The Barefoot Girl or the portrait of his first patron, Ramón Pérez Costales. He carried these works from studio to studio, keeping them until his death. Furthermore, La Coruña was where he held his first two exhibitions, which took place on the bustling Calle Real in 1895.

The first of these exhibitions prompted a critique in La Voz de Galicia that concluded ominously: "Continue in this way, and there is no doubt that he will see glorious days and a bright future." Picasso left La Coruña with a handful of masterpieces, an academic legacy, and a heavy heart. Five had come to the city, but only four departed in April 1895: his sister Conchita had succumbed to diphtheria earlier that year.

The Ruiz Picassos spent their five years in Galicia living on the second floor of 14 Payo Gómez Street. It's a typical Coruña-style house, with wooden galleries, and its original structure remains intact. Inside, the city council of La Coruña has recreated a 19th-century home where reproductions of Picasso's Coruña work and his father's can be viewed.

Explore Picasso's childhood and his renowned art, on display in the Picasso Museum Málaga, on the unmissable Málaga Free Tours. Book for free now!


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