Between 1904 and 1905 Pablo Picasso executed a series of fourteen prints of circus performers, who were familiar figures in his Parisian neighborhood. The subject matter, however, was not primarily their work as performers but rather private moments and familial interactions. Picasso was drawn to the independence and free-spirited nature of acrobats. It is in these early works that the Harlequin figure emerges. In this intimate scene Picasso depicts the figure nude, identified only by his hat, with his family at their bath. Here, the tenderness displayed by the mother toward her child is echoed by the cat’s affection for his master.
Label from Picasso: The Artist and His Models, November 5, 2016–February 19, 2017