The World’s Largest Picasso Finds a New Home in the City

April 21, 2015

After living in art world limbo for more than a year, Pablo Picasso’s largest creation has finally found a new home in the city. The 20-by-19-foot painting, called Le Tricorne, has been moved to the New-York Historical Society site along Central Park West, and will be available for your viewing pleasure starting May 29th.

The work was originally created as a stage curtain in 1919 for an avant-garde Parisian ballet troupe for their show El sombrero de tres picos (also referred to as Le Tricorne). The painting came as part of a larger project commissioned by Serge Diaghilev which had Picasso designing both the sets and costumes for the production. It was later when Diaghilev ran into financial troubles did Le Tricorne find a new life. Diaghilev cut the painting out of the curtain and sold the work to a collector who then sold it in 1957 to Phyllis Lambert. Lambert later brought the painting to the landmarked Seagram building, where her father was the CEO.


The work hung in the building in the hallway of the Four Seasons Park Avenue from 1959 on, but was removed last year so that structural work could be undertaken on the wall behind it. However, some report that the building’s owner, Aby Rosen, did not favor the painting in his building, while other say the battle to remove it stemmed from a dispute between Rosen and the Four Seasons and the removal was an easy jab—the restaurant believed the painting it was an indelible part of its identity.

Irregardless, it was taken down, and because of how delicate it was, detaching it from the wall required a team of workers and took more than seven hours. At the time, many worried that the work would be lost or damaged (it will “crack like a chip” some said), and if it made it out okay, it wouldn’t find a fate greater than a storage bin, allowed to deteriorate without care. Ultimately, the New York Landmarks Conservancy (who took responsibility for the work in 2005) donated the painting to the Historical Society which beyond exhibiting the work, plans on celebrating the new acquisition with a related exhibition that will run May 29 through summer 2016.

Visit New-York Historical Society’s website to find out more on the viewing hours here.


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  1. B

    Does the Picasso in Chicago not count?