Picasso’s synthetic cubism is elegantly exemplified by these objects on a tilted pedestal table, painted by laying down dots and dashes with the tip of the brush. This painting may be a self-portrait in disguise: the elongated bottle resembles a harlequin, the artist’s favorite motif, and the trompe l’oeil nameplate with “Picasso” underscores this possibility. It is also supported by the silhouette of a blue bird, the still life’s secondary feature, thought to represent the expiring soul of Eva Gouel, the artist’s companion, then dying in a Paris hospital.
Artist Pablo Picasso, Spanish, 1881-1973
  • Bottle of Anis del Mono
Date 1915
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 18 1/8 × 21 1/2 inches (46 × 54.6 cm)
Framed: 24 1/4 × 27 5/8 × 3 1/8 inches (61.6 × 70.2 × 7.9 cm)
Credit Line Bequest of Robert H. Tannahill
Accession Number 70.192
Department European Modern Art to 1950
Not On View
Signed Signed, in black and white letters on brown rectangle at lower center: PICASSO
about 1916, (Léonce Rosenberg [1879-1947], Galerie de l'Effort moderne, Paris, France);
early 1930s, (G.F. Reber [1880-1959], Lausanne, Switzerland);
before 1933, (A.E. Von Saher, Amsterdam, Netherlands);
before 1948, (Fine Arts Associates, New York, New York, USA);
1948, purchased by Robert H. Tannahill [1893-1969] (Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, USA);
1970-present, bequest to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Cubism. Exh. cat., Buchholz Gallery. New York, 1949, no. 48.

Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective. Exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1980, p. 190.

The Essential Cubism: Braque, Picasso, and their Friends. Exh. cat., The Tate Gallery. London, 1983, no. 148.

Le Siecle de Picasso. Exh. cat., Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Paris, 1987, no. 10.

El siglo de Picasso. Exh. cat., Museum Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. Madrid, 1988, no. 8.

Picasso and Things. Exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, 1992, no. 62.

Raynal, Maurice. Picasso. Paris, 1922 (pl. 50).

Zervos, Christian. Pablo Picasso, vol. 2, p. 552.

The Robert Hudson Tannahill Bequest to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1970, pp. 11, 12 (ill.), 21, 29.

Rubin, William. "Picasso in the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Including Remainder-Interest and Promised Gifts." Museum of Modern Art (1972): p. 215, no. 69.

Daix, Pierre and Joan Rosselet. Picasso- The Cubist Years, 1907-1916: A Catalogue Raisonne of the Paintings and Related Works. Paris, 1979, no. 838.

Palau i Fabre, Josep. Picasso, Cubisme (1907-1917). Paris, 1990, p. 457, no. 1388.

Kosinski, Dorothy. "G.F. Reber: Collector of Cubism." Burlington Magazine CXXXIII, 1061 (August 1991): p. 531.

Leal, Paloma Esteban. Juan Gris: Paintings and Drawings 1910-1927. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. Madrid, vol. 1, p.145.