What Lies Beneath

(Left) Pablo Picasso, The Blue Room, 1901, Oil on canvas 19 7/8 x 24 1/4 in.; 50.4825 x 61.595 cm. Acquired 1927. (Right) Infrared of Pablo Picasso’s The Blue Room (1901). The Phillips Collection, copyright 2008.

(Left) Pablo Picasso, The Blue Room, 1901, Oil on canvas 19 7/8 x 24 1/4 in.; 50.4825 x 61.595 cm. Acquired 1927. (Right) Infrared of Pablo Picasso’s The Blue Room (1901). The Phillips Collection,  copyright 2008.

Perhaps you’ve heard our big news of the day: thanks to the skillful work and research of Patricia Favero and colleagues at fellow institutions, a portrait of a man has been identified under Picasso’s The Blue Room (1901) through the use of imaging technology. We’re really proud of Patti’s discovery!

This is not the first time one of our excellent conservators has made a newsworthy discovery. Just one example is chief conservator Elizabeth Steele’s and then-intern Gillian Cook’s finding of an entirely complete canvas beneath Gifford Beal’s painting, Parade of Elephants (1924) back in 1999. The uncovered work, On the Hudson at Newburg (1918), has gone on to become a most beloved part of our collection.

Two paintings by Gifford Beal that, at one time, shared a stretcher. (Left) On the Hudson at Newburgh, 1918, Oil on canvas 36 x 58 1/2 in.; 91.44 x 148.59 cm.. Estate of Gifford Beal, courtesy of Kraushaar Galleries. (Right) Parade of Elephants, 1924, Oil on canvas 36 1/8 x 58 5/8 in.; 91.7575 x 148.9075 cm.. Acquired 1924.

Two paintings by Gifford Beal that, at one time, shared a stretcher. (Left) On the Hudson at Newburgh, 1918, Oil on canvas 36 x 58 1/2 in.; 91.44 x 148.59 cm.. Estate of Gifford Beal, courtesy of Kraushaar Galleries. (Right) Parade of Elephants, 1924, Oil on canvas 36 1/8 x 58 5/8 in.; 91.7575 x 148.9075 cm.. Acquired 1924.

24 thoughts on “What Lies Beneath

  1. My immediate and first reaction on seeing the “below” painting of the man holding his head was that it was of a young Gauguin.

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  7. Just read the CNN story, accompanying the video news story and the print one says this about founder Duncan Phillips: “Duncan Phillips, the Pittsburgh businessman and Civil War veteran who founded the museum…” Founder Duncan wasn’t in the Civil War — his father, Duncan, was. Good copyediting there CNN.

  8. It is Pere Romeu, he was the proprietor of “Els Quatre Gats” in Barcelona! Picasso would frequent this Tavern when he was 17 and not only did Picasso have his first show there but he was also the artist of the menu cover, which is a portrait of Pere and the same mystery man you see here…Voila!

  9. Is he someone that personally knows the female model? Is he watching the model and painter at work? Who is the female model? I don’t think the “beneath” is a Picasso.

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