Databáze uměleckých výstav v českých zemích 1820 – 1950

Pablo Picasso: Works from 1906–1921

Date:2. September 1922 – 15. October 1922

Place: Prague, Exhibition hall of SVU Mánes, Vodičkova street 38

Organizer:SVU Mánes

Conception:SVU Mánes


The 1922 Pablo Picasso exhibition organized by the SVU Mánes (Mánes Fine Arts Association) was the first monographic survey of the artist’s work ever held in Bohemia and post-1918 Czechoslovakia. The show was the SVU Mánes’s sixtieth and ran for six weeks from September 2 to October 15. It opened at the association’s new exhibition hall, Síň Mánesa, which at the time stood in an inner courtyard of a building complex at 38 Vodičkova Street in central Prague. Ahead of the exhibition, the association had reengaged with foreign art and instituted changes to its board, which as of 1921 included such avid Picasso supporters as the painter Emil Filla. These shifts were an effort on the part of the association to reorient local art practices away from nationalist sentiments brought on by World War I and national independence and towards a greater international outlook. As a result, the SVU Mánes teamed up with among others Picasso’s then-dealer Paul Rosenberg. For Rosenberg, in turn, the association’s initiative provided an opportunity for him to extend his network into Czechoslovakia. The close rapport between artist and dealer at this time suggests that the exhibition met Picasso’s approval.

 Group exhibitions held in Prague in the 1910s presented Picasso’s work predominantly in his cubist idiom. However, the 1922 showing was the first substantial display and comparative examination of the artist’s expanded practice that, as of fall 1913, encompassed cubism and the artist’s return to recognizable representation. The year span of 1904–1921 listed on the poster is erroneous; the exhibition catalogue provides the correct year span of 1906–1921. Facilitated by Rosenberg, the selection at Síň Mánesa presented this formal diversity through thirty-six oil paintings, pastels, gouaches, and pencil drawings, most of which dated to Picasso’s most recent period (1918–1921). The artist’s latest explorations of two subjects already essential to his past work—the still life and the human figure—dominated this multi-stylistic display. Some such works correspond to specific biographical moments and artistic developments, including his 1917 visit to Italy; summers in Biarritz (1918), Saint-Raphaël (1919), Juan-les-Pins (1920), and Fontainebleau (1921); his collaboration with the Ballets Russes (which began in 1916); and his 1918 marriage Olga Khokhlova. The assembled works made evident Picasso’s continued pursuit of cubism and engagement with a plethora of sources, from ancient art to contemporary popular culture. 

The SVU Mánes began its efforts to mount this exhibition in early March 1922. Hanuš Jelínek, a member of the Czechoslovak diplomatic corps in Paris who assisted the SVU Mánes, initiated talks with Rosenberg. Briefed by Jelínek of the dealer’s impending plans to send Picasso’s work to Heinrich Thannhauser in Munich as well as Rosenberg’s openness to extend that exhibition’s tour with a stop in Czechoslovakia, the SVU Mánes seized the opportunity and charged Václav Nebeský, the recently appointed editor of the association’s journal Volné Směry, with the formal request. It proved successful. The association and Rosenberg then agreed that the former would pay for transportation and installation while the dealer would cover the insurance. Additionally, the SVU Mánes negotiated a sales commission. The exhibition was scheduled for late spring, but delays in mounting the Munich display postponed the Prague opening to early September. 

Although the exhibition had originated as a second venue of Thannhauser’s presentation, marked differences rendered the two displays distinct events. As in the initial exhibition, that at Síň Mánesa covered the last two decades of Picasso’s practice, underscoring the artist’s latest production. However, with ten fewer works in Prague than in Munich, the content of the SVU Mánes’s exhibition placed greater emphasis on Picasso’s cubist idiom. The association also financed its own catalogue. Less lavish than Thannhauser’s, it conformed to the group’s established format of reproducing only one work on the cover: in this case, Picasso’s Still Life with Brioche (1909; formerly in the collection of Roger Dutilleul, Z IIa: 127). Somewhat misleadingly, this painting was not part of the exhibition. For the preface, the SVU Mánes engaged the local authority on cubism and one of Picasso’s champions, the art historian Vincenc Kramář, who used this opportunity to further explicate points put forth in his book Kubismus (1921). In the catalogue’s checklist, prices were provided for all but one work (no. 16, which was not for sale) in French francs. This was in contrast with the Munich publication, in which prices remained unlisted. Such information helps trace the value placed on Picasso’s work in the early 1920s. For example, the Portrait of Wilhelm Uhde (1910; no. 7) was sold for Fr. 1,650 at auction in Paris in May 1921. In the Prague catalogue, it is listed for Fr. 2,800. In 1923, the price increased to Fr. 4,000 and the painting then sold for Fr. 6,500 that same year. The prices recorded in the publication also reveal differences in how the artist’s early and late cubist works were valued. Later cubist still lifes such as Open Window on the Rue de Penthièvre (1920; no. 5) and Still Life (1918; no. 22), for which Rosenberg controlled the market, were at a price of Fr. 25,000 each among the most expensive of the exhibited works.

Even though the total number of visitors to the SVU Mánes exhibition remains unknown, many emerging and established artists—male and female—came to see it. The press also reported on the show’s popularity with the general public, who were likely attracted by the notoriety of Picasso’s art. To date, over fifteen reviews and at least that many exhibition notices have been identified. The texts, written in either Czech or German, appeared in specialized art periodicals as well as daily and monthly newspapers spanning the entire political spectrum. The event also received attention abroad, for example, in a review for a Berlin paper written by Johannes Urzidil. This variety of responses was reflected in the diversity of opinions voiced and, in turn, partly due to the wide array of professional backgrounds and generational affiliations among the reviewers, who were artists, architects, art historians, critics, theorists, and journalists. The oldest among them were the painters Lád’a Novak and František Xaver Harlas, both born in 1865, and the youngest was the architect Jaromír Krejcar, born in 1895. The majority of the reviewers praised the exhibition, such as Josef Čapek, who displayed uncritical approval of Picasso. Those most condemning of the artist, such as František Žákavec, belonged to the older generation. Like Kramář in his preface, most reviewers came short of engaging in any substantial manner with Picasso’s renewed interest in recognizable figuration, concentrating instead on cubism. However, Krejcar, for example, recognized artistic merit in such figurative works as Seated Woman Drying Her Foot (1921; no. 36). Even if some of his supporters felt conflicted about Picasso’s recent traditionally rendered imagery, they rarely attributed this shift in his work to a rejection of cubism. The exhibition had succeeded in answering the moment’s most pressing question, that of the fate of cubism. Heavy on his post-fall 1913 cubist works, the display indisputably proved Picasso’s continued commitment to this idiom in art. Yet what held the greatest value was Picasso’s uncompromising artistic stance, which even the youngest generation recognized with genuine admiration. In the Czechoslovak context his model carried moral weight.

The exhibition’s critical and popular acclaim in Prague did not lead to immediate financial gains for the parties involved. Despite the provision of a sales commission, the SVU Mánes did not sell or purchase any work during the course of the exhibition. Nevertheless, the exhibition crucially advanced Picasso’s reputation on the world stage. In June 1923, the SVU Mánes obtained a painting from Rosenberg: Standing Woman (1921; Národní Galerie, Prague), bought at a favorable price with the understanding that the association would donate the work to the Czechoslovak state (the state collection of French art). In tandem, Rosenberg donated Still Life with a Goblet (1922; Národní Galerie, Prague) to the Czechoslovak state for the same collection. The association was in a better financial position that year thanks to successfully organizing a large-scale exhibition of French modern art at Obecní Dům, which was on view from May 26 to July 15 of 1923. While neither of the works had featured in the 1922 Picasso exhibition, as a pair they synthesized the dual nature of Picasso’s post-fall 1913 practice, in which cubism and recognizable representation played equal parts. Most significantly, however, both paintings were among the first works by Picasso to count among a national collection.

Anna Jozefacka and Luise Mahler



Anna Jozefacka – Luise Mahler, Reading Picasso in Munich and Prague in 1922 (with Appendix I: “Pablo Picasso” at the Moderne Galerie [Heinrich Thannhauser] and the Síň Mánesa [Mánes Hall] in May 9–June 10 and September 2–October 15, 1922 respectively), Umění/Art LXX, 2022, pp. 156–192

Jiří Švestka – Tomáš Vlček (eds.), Czech Cubism 1909–1925: Art, Architecture, Design, Prague 2006

Archival sources

Archiv hlavního města Prahy (Prague City Archives), SVU Mánes Archives; Morgan Library & Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, both New York, and both Paul Rosenberg Papers; Musée national Picasso, Paris, Archives Picasso

Exhibiting authors
Pablo Picasso: Works from 1906–1921
Technique: linotype, paper, 63 x 96 cm
Owner: National gallery Prague

LX. výstava SVU Mánes – Pablo Picasso. Výbor prací z let 1906–1921

Publisher: Spolek výtvarných umělců „Mánes“

Place and year of publication: Praha 1922

Author/s of the introduction: Vincenc Kramář
Reviews in the press
Josef Čapek

jč [Josef Čapek], Výstava Picassových obrazů v Praze (Síň Mánesa, LX. výstava S.V.U. Mánes.), Lidové noviny XXX, 1922, č. 462, 15. 9., s. 7


e k, Podzimní salony, Večer IX, 1922, no. 213, 20. 9., p. 6


F. Z., Boje o Zítřek, Dílo XVI, n. 8–10, 1922, pp. 168-170

František Xaver Harlas

Dr. F[rantišek] X. Harlas, Výstava šedesátá v paviloně Manesa [sic], Národní politika XL, 1922, č. 264, 26. 9., s. 19–20

Štěpán Jež

Štěpán Jež, Výtvarné umění, Lumír XLIX, 1922, č. 9, s. 502–504

František Kobliha

František Kobliha, Výstavy, Moderní revue XXXIII, 1923, s. 36–38

Jaromír Krejcar

Jaromír Krejcar, Pablo Picasso, Československé noviny I, 1922, n. 161, 24. 9., p. 2; č. 167, 1. 10., pp. 2–3


l. [?], Síň Mánesa, LX. výstava Spolku výtvarných umělců Mánes. Pablo Picasso (září 1922), Rudé právo III, 1922, č. 220, 20. 9., s. 7

Josef Richard Marek

Josef Richard Marek, Revolucionář. K výstavě Pabla Picassa v síni Manesa [sic], Venkov XVII, 1922, no. 218, 17.9., pp. 3–4

František Viktor Mokrý

F.V.M. [František V. Mokrý], Pablo Picasso. K výstavě jeho prací v síni Manesa [sic], pt. 1, Literature a umění, Právo lidu XXXI, 1922, no. 212, 10.09., p. 11 [Part two of Mokrý’s review went unpublished.]

Václav Nebeský

V. N. [Václav Nebeský], Výstava Pabla Picassa otevřena, Tribuna IV,1922, no. 206, 03.09., p. 8

Václav Nebeský

V[áclav] Nebeský, K výstavě Pabla Picassa, Tribuna IV, 1922, č. 212, 10. 9., s. 8; č. 217, 16. 9., s. 2–3

Václav Nebeský

V. N. [Václav Nebeský], Pablo Picasso (Síň Mánesa), Volné směry XXII, 1923–1924, č. 1, s. 35 

Láďa Novák

Lád’a Novák, Pablo Picasso. 60 výstava sp. Mánesa, Zvon XXIII, 1922, no. 3, 05.10., p. 44

Emil Pacovský

E. P. [Emil Pacovský], Pablo Picasso, Veraikon VIII, 1922, č. 7–8, červenec–září, s. 22–24

Jaromír Pečírka

Jaromír Pečírka, Kunst. Pablo Picasso: 60. Ausstellung der Künstlervereinigung Mánes in der Máneshalle, Prager Presse II, 1922, no. 241, 05.09., p. 6

Karel Teige

Tge., Výstava Picassova, Čas XXXII, 1922, n. 206, 3. 9., p. 4

Walter Tschuppik

Walter Tschuppik, Bühne und Kunst: Bei Picasso, Prager Tagblatt XLVII, 1922, no. 206, 03.09., p. 8

Johannes Urzidil

Johannes Urzidil, Pablo Picasso, Beilage des Berliner Börsen-Courier, 1922, n. 439, 19. 9., p. 5

František Žákavec

Ž [František Žakavec], Picasso v Praze. Výbor prací z let 1906-1921 v síni Mánesa, Výtvarné umění, Národní listy LXII, 1922, no. 254, 16.09., p. 4

Views of the exhibition

View of the Picasso exhibition


Štenc Archives, Prague. Reproduction: Anna Jozefacka and Luise Mahler, Reading Picasso in Munich and Prague in 1922, Uměni/Art LXX, 2022

Brief notes about the exhibition

Anonymous author, Picasso Tentoonstelling, Het Vanderland LV, 1922, 15. 9., p. 2

Anonymous author, Umění, Národní politika XL, 1922, 2. 9. – 15. 10. [recurring notices]

Anonymous author Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, Tentoonstelling Pablo Picasso te Praag, LXXIX, 1922, no. 255, 15.09., p. 2

Anonymous author, Divadlo a umění ,Tribuna IV, 1922, 2. 9. – 11. 10. [recurring notices]

Anonymous author, Literatura a umění, Právo lidu XXXI, 1922, 1. 9. – 15. 10. [recurring notices]

Anonymous author, Eine Picasso-Ausstellung in Prag, Salzburger Volksblatt LII, 1922, no. 173, 1. 8., p. 4

Anonymous author, Spolek výtvarných umělcú Mánes, Pražské klasobraní, Večer IX, 1922, supplement to no. 197, 31. 8., unpaginated

Anonymous author, Výstava Pabla Picassa v ‘Síni Mánesa’, Divadlo, hudba, literature, umění, Venkov XVII, 1922, no. 206, 3. 9., p. 7

Anonymous author, Síň Mánesa v Praze, Kronika, Volné směry XXI, 1921–1922, p. 206

Anonymous author, Pablo Picasso Ausstellung in Prag, Wiener Morgenzeitung IV, 1922, no. 1297, 19. 9., p. 4

čch [Čeněk Chyský], Pablo Picasso v Praze, Čas XXXII, 1922, no. 177, 1. 8., p. 4

čch [Čeněk Chyský], Pablo Picasso v Praze, Čas XXXII, 1922, no. 176, 30. 7., p. 4

čch [Čeněk Chyský], V novém výstavním pavilonu …, Lidové noviny XXX, 1922, no. 356, 19. 7., p. 7

F. [Karel Čapek], Picasso, Lidové noviny XXX, 1922, no.  441, 3. 9., p. 5

Emil Pacovský, Výtvarnictví, Archa XI, 1923, no. 1, p. 59

T. [Karel Teige], Literatura o kubismu, Čas XXXII, 1922, no. 273, 22.11., p. 4

Karel Vaněk, Dvě výstavy, Kmen VII, 1922, p. 64

Ž [František Žákavec], Výtvarné umění, Naše doba XXX, 1922, no. 2, November, p. 126–128

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