New details about the missing Picasso of Cau Ferrat

Historian Eduard Vallès details that the track was probably lost between 1933 and 1942

Historian Eduard Vallès - curator of the National Art Museum of Catalonia - has shed new light about one of the most important mysteries of Cau Ferrat: the disappearance of a drawing by Pablo Ruiz Picasso from the Cau Ferrat's collection shortly after the death of Santiago Rusiñol. Vallès presented these new findings during the presentation, last Friday, of the Piece of the Month, homaging precisely the two drawings by Picasso present at Cau Ferrat: Two women dancing and the missing Three can-can dancers , dated both between the years 1900 and 1901. On the occasion of these new findings, the Sitges Heritage Consortium has officially notified about the old disappearance to the Mossos d'Esquadra Cultural Heritage Unit to avoid any possible commercialization.

The personal collection of Rusiñol originally had six works by Picasso, but nowadays only five hang in Cau Ferrat. There was another drawing ( Three can-can dancers ), which disappeared from the collection between 1933 and 1942, according to Vallès after reviewing the new data presented. This drawing was evidenced by the reproduction made by L'Esquella de la Torratxa in 1917 and on the other by the Picasso expert Christian Zervos in 1969.

Vallès's research has determined that Three can-can dancers appear in a photograph recently cataloged by the Photographic Archive of the Sitges Heritage Consortium and who definitely asserts the presence of this drawing at Cau Ferrat, along with the other five works by Picasso. This photograph was probably made from June 1932, when the Museum Board took over the management of Cau Ferrat, one year after the death of Santiago Rusiñol. It can be placed at this time thanks to the detail of the labels of the pieces, in the process of inventory. A second photograph, which would have been done once the museography was finished, on the occasion of the opening of Cau Ferrat as a public museum (April 1933), also confirms the presence of Three can-can dancers.

But the catalog of the Museum Board, in 1942, no longer mentions the presence of this drawing. This indicates that the work probably disappeared between 1933 and 1942. Vallès's thesis also points out that Picasso could have seen the disappearance of his drawing in his visit to Sitges in August 1933, according to the chronicle published by the newspaper La Publicitat.

Picasso painted three can-can dancers in his first stay in Paris, in the late 1900's or, at most, in subsequent months. Picasso possibly attended can-can shows in some of his visits to the Moulin Rouge, Jardin de Paris or Moulin de la Galette. The latter served him as inspiration for one of his best-known works of those years, which has the same title and is part of the collection of the Guggenheim Museum of New York.

According to Vallès, new research would show that the lost drawing would have been ripped from an album, that would also include other Picasso drawings that are part of the Cau Ferrat collection, Two women dancing , and which was also analyzed by Vallès in Friday's presentation.

As a result of this research, the Sitges Heritage Consortium has officially announced the disappearance of the drawing by Picasso Three can-can dancers today to the Cultural Heritage Unit of the Mossos d'Esquadra , so now its sale is impossible anywhere in the world world

The Cau Ferrat has in its collection an oil  by Picasso (the bullfight) and four drawings (the family of Don Paco at his home Two women dancing Two female figures / Tavern's fauna and two seated women / Butterflies with burned wings), all dated between 1900 and 1901. The last two were borrowed by the Carmen Thyssen Museum in Malaga to participate in the exhibition Perversity: fatal women in modern art (1880-1950).


Works by Picasso at Cau Ferrat:

Pablo Ruiz Picasso

The bullfight , 1900

Oil and pastel on cardboard


Pablo Ruiz Picasso

The family of Don Paco at home , c. 1900-1901

Drawing with ink and pastel on cardboard


Pablo Ruiz Picasso

Two seated women / Butterflies with burned wings , c. 1900-1901

Drawing on colored pencils on paper


Pablo Ruiz Picasso

Two female figures / Tavern's fauna , c. 1900-1901

Drawing on colored pen on paper


Pablo Ruiz Picasso

Two women dancing , c. 1900-1901

Drawing on charcoal and watercolor on paper