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November 29, 2018

Germany: Cologne, Museum Ludwig

Inside Museum Ludwig

Museum Ludwig is located in Cologne’s city center near the famous cathedral. It houses a substantial collection of modern art featuring works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Pablo Picasso. As modern art museums go, this is a good one.

Most notable is Museum Ludwig’s Picasso collection. The museum holds around 900 works by Picasso. Remarkably that number is only good enough to be the third largest collection of Picasso’s works in the world. And it’s not even a close third.

Buste d’homme au chapeau (Pablo Picasso, 1970)

La Gare de Perpignan (Salvador Dalí, 1965)

The largest holding of works by the artist is the Musée Picasso’s collection in the Marais district of Paris France. Musée Picasso holds more than 5,000 examples of the famous artist’s work. With over 3,500 pieces the Museu Picasso in Barcelona Spain has the second largest assembly of Picasso’s artwork. Both the Paris and Barcelona collections are impressively large so it is surprising that they will soon be eclipsed by an even larger collection when a new Picasso museum in Aix-en-Provence opens in 2021.

If you do the math, the museums in Cologne, Paris, and Barcelona hold near 10,000 examples of Picasso’s works. Amazingly that’s just a fraction of the artist’s output. Picasso was exceptionally prolific throughout his 80-plus-year long career. The total number of artworks he produced has been estimated at between 20,000 and 147,800. That’s a wide range likely influenced by what constitutes a piece of art. (Is a print a distinct piece of art?) Still, even at the low end of the estimate, it comes out to close to one piece of art per day over his long career. All told this one artist’s life’s work is worth billions of dollars.

Arlequin, les mains croisées (Picasso, 1923)

It’s not clear that anyone can really define exactly how many Picasso’s there are. Suffice it to say that there are a lot. As an upside Picasso’s prodigious output means that his works are reasonably easy to see. Many museums have at least a Picasso or two. And easy to steal, apparently: As of 2012 1,147 of Picasso’s works have been listed as stolen. That’s a career worth of artwork for many other artists.

La chouette (Picasso, 1952)

“Woman with a Purse, Sculpture” by Duane Hanson and a woman without a purse

Mousquetaire et Amour (Picasso, 1969)

Tête de femme (Dora Maar) by Picasso, 1941

Femme au peignoir vert (Picasso, 1922)

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