The summer in Gósol village that inspired Picasso to create cubism

The summer stay in Gósol village that inspired Picasso to create cubism

Updated July 2024

Perched high in the foothills of the Catalan Pyrenees mountains, about 93 miles from Barcelona, the quaint village of Gósol beckons art and nature lovers seeking to retrace the steps of the famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. More than a century ago, in the summer of 1906, Picasso and girlfriend, Fernande Olivier, a French artist and model, and a fox terrier puppy made a remarkable journey by train and then mule from Barcelona to Gósol. They were both 24 years old. Picasso was suffering from a creative block in Paris, so he left the city and went to Barcelona with Fernande to seek fresh inspiration. Picasso and Fernande travelled first by train from Paris to Barcelona where they stayed for two  weeks to catch up with old friends and family from Picasso's youth when he lived and studied in Barcelona. Then, on the glowing recommendation of a friend, Picasso and Fernande decided to spend the summer in Gósol, a remote and beautiful mountain village in the Pre-Pyrenees mountains. They arrived in May and left in July or August.

The couple first travelled to the Pyrenees by train. The final part of the voyage to Gósol village could only be made on muleback along precarious mountain tracks overlooking steep precipices. All summer of 1906 Picasso immersed himself in the enchanting surroundings of Gósol, capturing the essence of the village, its inhabitants and the majestic mountain landscapes on canvas. This time marked a change and a new beginning for Picasso as an artist. The views of the village houses and roofs gave him the inspiration he was looking for and led to his creation of cubism, which was to be a breakthrough for the artist. 

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Picasso and Olivier stayed all summer at Gósol's only inn, the 'Hostal Cal Tampanada.' During his 10 week stay in Gosol, Picasso painted tirelessly and produced seven large paintings, a dozen medium-sized ones, and countless drawings, watercolours, gouaches, and carvings. If you visit Gósol today, you can now go all the way by car.  You can still see the window of the room that Picasso stayed in Gósol and you can also see the ruins of a 13th century castle and medieval village. Like Picasso and Fernande did so often, you can enjoy lunch in the village square or enjoy a picnic in the surrounding hills and gaze down the mountains and village houses.

There is a small Picasso Center in Gósol which was recently renovated. It showcases the painter's time in the village in 1906 and exhibits around 70 replicas of Picasso works – all of the original 300 works attributed to the artist's Gósol period, are now in museums in Europe and the United States – such as 'Woman with Loaves' or his 'Catalan Sketchbook', which contains the writings and drawings made by the artist during his stay in Gósol. 

Below: Woman with Loaves, Gósol 1906. Artist: Pablo Picasso

Below: Pablo Picasso Landscape Gósol 1906

Related pages:

Biography Picasso
Where did Picasso live in Barcelona
Picasso Walking Tour

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Last Updated on Sunday, 07 July 2024 16:40