Picasso by the Sea | Museum Beelden aan Zee | Beeldhouwkunst in Den Haag

The museum is closed from March 20 till April 6 for the build-up of Henry Moore.


Picasso by the Sea

13 october 2016 - 5 march 2017

Picasso by the Sea

Ceramics & Sculpture

Whoever visits museum Beelden aan Zee this winter can marvel at surprising sculptures by Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) and enjoy the warm, Mediterranean colours of his ceramic works from the years that followed 1947. Displayed in the exhibition will be unique examples in ceramic together with exceptional sculptures from the best private and museum collections of Europe. Some works have never been seen before in the Netherlands. As compared with his paintings, in the course of the years Picasso’s sculptural oeuvre has been given little attention.

Pioneer of modern sculpture

Quite justifiably, Picasso is regarded as one of the pioneers of modern sculpture. As the first he introduced the ‘open’ sculpture: a work that consists of not one but of a number of forms. With his cubist still lifes  he was the first to introduce everyday objects as a theme, and again as a first he dared to replace the traditional sculpting materials – stone, wood and bronze – with non-sculptural resources such as tin, iron and objets trouvés.

There is a great deal of speculation as to the reason why in the years following World War II Picasso developed a great interest in ceramics. It was particularly circumstances of a personal nature that were given a reasons for this, such as the influence of his new partner Françoise Gilot, or his homesickness for Spain. In 1945 Pablo Picasso’s renown was at its zenith. Via his friend Man Ray he discovered Antibes, where he had an atelier in the centuries-old Château Grimaldi (now the Musée Picasso), which lies directly on the Mediterranean Sea. At that time Picasso discovered the nearby village of Vallauris, the centre of pottery making.

The transience of paint

The artist, who had for years complained about the transience of paint, was attracted by the everlasting durability, plasticity and sparkle of ceramics. Virtuoso that he was, Picasso chose the existing shape of the vase as his starting point, projecting his images onto it. He folded the ‘flat’ images as it were around the vase, where it took on the shape of a woman, an owl or a hand. The themes in Picasso’s oeuvre, and thus in his ceramics too, are of great simplicity. Women play a central role, but animals also appear frequently in his work. As a fanatic enthusiast of Spanish bullfighting, which too was popular in the South of France, Picasso also decorated his ceramics with bulls, toreros, picadors and horses. Whilst he was at work in Antibes an owl flew into Château Grimaldi. Picasso made the small nightbird his favourite model.

To accompany the exhibition will be published the eponymous, richly illustrated catalogue Picasso by the Sea, which will be on sale for € 19.95 in the museum’s gift shop –as will an attractive range of Picasso merchandising. The museum café offers Mediterranean tapas and wines. A Mediterranean atmosphere at Scheveningen’s coast!

Buy your tickets online!

Download the free Picasso app

With the exceptional support of the Musée national Picasso - Paris

Title sponsors:



With special thanks to:

Vormidable Patronen, Zakenvrienden, Sculpture Club (Bruikleenveiling 2015), Vrienden en Gouden Vrienden van museum Beelden aan Zee.