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Picasso’s Bull’s Head

There is an exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s work in Paris, at the Musée Nationale; after it closes on May 15 the show travels to San Francisco’s de Young Museum.

One of the pieces on display is Picasso’s Bull Head made during WWII in 1942, when Picasso was living and working in occupied France.

Eric Gibson writing in the Wall Street Journal said,

“Out of the blue, comes a moment of wit and whimsy: "Bull's Head" (1942), a sculpture made from a bicycle saddle and handlebars.

At once both childlike and highly sophisticated in its simplicity, it stands as an assertion of the transforming power of the human imagination at a time when human values were under siege.

Consisting as it does of only two elements, "Bull's Head" is Picasso's sparest sculpture. And it is unique among his assemblages for its transparency.”

Some may read that and say, “What utter bull shit about a bull’s head.” So many times I have heard people say of Picasso’s work, “I could have done that.” But the point is, they didn’t.

There is an old saying, “In order to be successful you need to be First, Best or Different; Picasso was all three.

Rather than even try to analyze or wax lyrical about “The Bull’s Head” or any of Picasso’s work for that matter; I just think it is pretty damn cool, I like it and I’m glad he made it.

Sometimes we miss out on some of life's simple pleasures by trying to understand or analize everything. After all we don't look at a beautiful flower and say, "I don't get it."


If you are into art like this, check out Fluxus.


Reader Comments (12)

If I recall correctly, Picasso was short of material, since all bronze and other metals were used in the war effort, when he found an old saddlle and a handle bar and proceeded to make history (again). Of course he was fond of bulls and bulllfighting so the subject was more natural to him that it is to most other people.

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTP

file with duchamp's bicycle wheel:


i've always thought that bicycle wheels and certain forks, especially those with a bend like this, are art in themselves. saddles and bars, too. and chainrings. frames. cogs...

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermr. dobalina

They might think they could have done that until they try. There is always that elusive element of transcendence where craft becomes art. But then, you already know about that, don't you Dave...

Nice wheel truing stand.

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTim Joe Comstock

Wonderful piece of art? But I am only interested in the make and type of bars and saddle, That saddle could be a Brooks 40vin with the three key holes in it. Any thoughts on the bars?

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

Now I know who stole my "liberal" bike with its old leather saddle and left bank bars!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJack

No matter what we know, there will always be more we don't. (As cyclists we don’t need to know the type of saddle or bar. That’s not the idea).
Viewing art is like asking "Why do you ride?" To answer is to negate the very reason; better not to.
Do you dissect a rain drop to find out how it can be so exquisite in its simplicity? The result: you’ve destroyed it.
Does art imitate life, or do we live a life imitating art? I think that is what Pablo Picasso has done here.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Maybe I am in the wrong blog, I thought Daves blog WAS about CYCLING? I was and still am, a artist and sculptor, I worked for William Bloye The Birmingham UK Sculptor. in the 50s. I DO agree with your findings, BUT at this point I am more interested in the bike parts. John Crump

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

GREAT post! Just great.


April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJan

This is the sculpture that made me realise I wanted to be an artist. I was twelve years old and saw it high up on a wall in the Picasso Museum in Antibes while on holiday in 1975. It's power has never left me, today I am a professional artist and in my own work I constantly try to recreate the feeling I got the first time I was confronted with this godlike work of genius. We love you Pablo! Alexander Johnson

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlexander Johnson

I thought I would let you know I referenced this blog post on my blog at http://www.localhomespot.com/blog/80-sitting-bull-long-chair-picassos-bulls-head-trophy-bull-wild-bicycle-holder.html where I talked about the newly released Sitting Bull Long Chair, the Wild Bull Bike rack, and of course - Picasso's Bull's Head. Hope you like my post :-)

April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvelyn M

It does not say where the bull's head is located now (2014)



May 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMysteriouscat20

Thanks for the valuable information Pablo Picasso you can visit here for best Pablo Picasso.

August 28, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterblouinartinfo

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