Picasso's Japanese erotic inspiration on show in Barcelona

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The Independent Culture

The Japanese prints that inspired some of the erotic works of Pablo Picasso are the subject of a new exhibition that opened at Barcelona's Picasso Museum Thursday.

"Secret Images", which is on until February 14, aims to show the influence of the 19 erotic prints on the works of the Spanish artist.

The prints, from the 17th to the 19th century and which were part of Picasso's private collection, are on show alongside the 27 engravings and drawings of Picasso that they inspired.

The exhibition is the result of "real detective work," said one of the curators, Malen Gual.

Picasso, who lived from 1881 to 1973, developed an interest in Japanese art through the works of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas and Vincent Van Gogh, all of whom were fascinated by eastern art, said another of the curators, Ricard Bru.

Among the erotic Japanese prints is a work by Hokusai Katsushika, which depicts a woman and an octopus, a version of which was done by Picasso in 1903.

He was most influenced by the detailed work of Japanese artists depicting genital organs during sex.

The exhibition also includes books, catalogues and albums that illustrate the Japanese influence on Barcelona in the 19th century and on Picasso.

Given the fragility of the works on display, the exhibition cannot be transported to any other site, the organisers said.