The first pieces in this superb collection came mostly from Jaume Sabartés, a childhood friend who became Picasso’s personal secretary in 1935. They include a number of works made when Picasso was a student in Barcelona or when he retreated back here to gather himself for another assault on the art world of Paris. As such, they provide a striking portrait of Barcelona at the end of the 19th century as well as an intriguing look at an evolving artistic genius. Picasso also donated generously to the museum, including 2,400 works in memory of his friend Sabartés. His most significant donation was his entire Las Meninas series, which he painted as a tribute to and exploration of the art of Velázquez. The large canvas and dozens of smaller studies are the centerpiece of the rehung collection, which fills five adjoining historic townhouses. Allow plenty of time to study Las Meninas. It’s a rare opportunity to follow Picasso’s thought process and artistic instincts at the height of his mature power. It may be true that Picasso’s greatest masterpieces are elsewhere, but you will leave this museum wondering how there could possibly be more.
- Frommer's Staff