Pablo Picasso’s Illustrated Postcards To His Friends

Picasso's postcards to Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, Leo Stein and Guillaume Apollinaire

Pablo Picasso’s postcards to his friends featured a flourish: a hand-drawn illustration. As with other artists, like Edward Gorey, whose illustrated envelopes are a joy, the blend of words and pictures creates something new and intensely personal.


postcard pablo picasso

Picasso’s postcard to his close friend and artist, Jean Cocteau, depicting the balcony at No. 10, Rue d’Anjou, where Cocteau’s mother had an apartment.

Picasso postcard to Guillaume Apollinaire

Picasso’s postcard to Surrealist and poet Guillaume Apollinaire. The message reads: “I don’t see you anymore. Are you dead?”

Pablo Picasso to his friend, French poet Guillaume Apollinaire postcard

Pablo Picasso’s postcard to Guillaume Apollinaire – September 5, 1918. It sold at auction for €200,000 euros in 2015

Picasso wrote often to the American writer and collector Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) ,  who he’d met in Paris. Stein fondly recounts their friendship in The Autobiography of Alice B. ToklasGertrude’s bestselling memoir of the Paris years as seen through the eyes of her companion. (Toklas’s recipe for hash fudge may be of interest.)


Picasso's portrait of Gertude Stein - 1908

Picasso’s portrait of Gertude Stein – 1908


Stein’s Paris home was “hung to the ceiling with now-famous paintings, the double doors of the dining room were lined with Picasso sketches… For all intents and purposes, Leo and Gertrude Stein had inaugurated, at 27 Rue de Fleurus, the first museum of modern art.”


1912 Aug 20, Avignon, [to] Gertrude Stein from Pablo Picasso From: Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas papers

1912 Aug 20, Avignon – postcard to Gertrude Stein from Pablo Picasso

picasso to stein postcard

Picasso’s postcard to Stein – 1919 – transcribed  and translated below

Picasso’s postcard to Gertrude Stein (1919):

“Mais non Gertrude,

“il n’y a pas des mouches et je n’ai vu encore qu’un moustique, que j’ai tué d’ailleurs.  Ecrives si le couer vous dit.  Milles bonnes choses de nous deux a vous [et mlle Toklas]

“votre Picasso.”

(“No, Gertrude,

“there are no flies, and I haven’t seen more than one mosquito, which I killed, anyway.  Write me if the mood strikes. All the best to you and Ms. Toklas.

“Yours, Picasso”)



Picasso’s Postcard to Gertrude Stein’s brother Leo Stein – Paris, April 27 1907

picasso postcards

Picasso’s postcard – 23 Mar. 1909 – to Leo Stein and Gertrude Stein from Pablo Picasso


Via: Beinecke Library at Yale, Open Culture

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