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Prints and Drawings
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Artist: Pablo Picasso, Spanish, active France, 1881–1973

Dice, Packet of Cigarettes, and Visiting-Card

Spring 1914

Collage of painted and printed paper, graphite and watercolor

sheet: 14 × 21 cm (5 1/2 × 8 1/4 in.)
Transfer from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Collection, Yale Collection of American Literature
1980.130
This collage starts with a story: one day Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas called on Picasso, but he was out. When he returned, he found their calling card, with the corner turned down to signify that they had been there in person. Picasso made this collage, pasting their card into the work, then called on Stein and Toklas to present his clever gift. They were not at home, so he left it, as a calling card. Fictively, we are looking at part of a table, and upon it lies a pair of dice, a packet of Élégantes cigarettes, and Stein and Toklas’s carte-de-visite. By gluing the label from the cigarette packet alongside its cover, reading “contributions indirectes” (the label refers to the tax on consumable goods), Picasso puns in English and in French, honoring Stein and Toklas’s “contributions” to his art, which—ever protective of his independence—remain “indirect.”
Geography: 
Made in France
Culture: 
Spanish
Period: 
20th century
Classification: 
Works on Paper - Drawings and Watercolors
Provenance: 

Gertrude Stein; Mrs. Gilbert W. Chapman, New York, until at least 1970; Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Bibliography: 

Susan Greenberg Fisher et al., Picasso and the Allure of Language, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2009), 3, 21–22, 70–76, 81, 86, no. 7, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.