Museu Picasso - Barcelona
Museu Picasso is the most comprehensive collection with regard to Picasso's early years as an apprentice and student. I was, frankly, surprised to see his classical training shine through in his early work. It was a side of Picasso that you rarely see displayed in museums. It was fascinating to see how his training and experiences influenced his creative style in later years. One example was particularly striking. There were two still life painting both a fruit. The first, done as a school assignment could've been painted by Cezanne. The second, from much later in his life, was recognizably a Picasso.
The museum is housed in five "palaces"on Carrer Montcada which is a tiny little alley-like street. I was entirely unsure if I was in the right place until I saw the sign.
Picasso's childhood friend, Jaume Sabartes began to develop the idea for a museum in the mid-50s. In July 1960 the town hall established the Picasso museum and in April 1962 Jaume donated his entire private collection to the city of Barcelona, which in return ceded the works it owned to the museum.
Picasso supported the idea of a museum a donated a copy of each new print. In 1968 he gifted the entire series of his Las Meninas as a tribute to his friend, Jaume, who had passed away earlier that year. The donation of Las Meninas (a collection of 57 works that are his own personal interpretation of Velazquez's Las Meninas) making it the only series of works painted by Picasso on display all together in one museum. I can tell you that it is awe-inspiring. I was fortunate to know Velazquez's original work and to see Picasso's interpretation of each character was ... emotional.
In 1970, Picasso, again in memory of his friend - Jaume, donated nearly 2500 works that had previously been kept by his family. His widow, Jacqueline, donated a number of pieces as well, including prints, etchings, lithographs, and ceramics in 1982.
Quick note about the ceramics - there was one that was a bowl with a face at the bottom, and all I could think about was how terrifying it would be to be eating a bowl of cereal or soup and finishing to find that scary face floating at the bottom!
The museum also owns many sketchbooks that I found positively fascinating.
As if the artwork wasn't awesome enough, the building architecture was also wonderful. And since these were originally homes I couldn't help but think of what it would have been like to live there.
They were selling this guy in the gift shop...LOVE. IT. (not $15 Euros love, but enough love to take a prohibited picture)