This is the only play by Pablo Picasso, which he wrote in January 1941. Over the duration of six acts, it dramatizes the plight of people who endured the famine that winter, during the Second World War. The dialog is monopolized by references to food and (physical) love. In 1944, a facsimile was published of the handwritten playscript, along with sketches of stage designs situations, and director’s instructions. Only 35 copies were printed. In March 1944 the Paris intelligentsia gave a reading of the play at the home of Michel Leiris. The players were Simone de Beauvoir, Dora Maar, Germaine Hugnet, Louise Leiris, Michel Leiris, Jean-Paul Sartre, Raymond Queneau, Jacques Bost, Jean Aubier and Zanie Aubier; the musical accompaniment was conducted by Georges Hugnet. There were plans to perform the play before an invited audience on 4 June 1955 in the auditorium of the Stedelijk Museum, which were cancelled by the city alderman. The Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant claimed that it was because of ‘… the casting. The principal character is a Negress who, with the exception of a pair of stockings, appears on stage as naked as a baby. She wanders through a series of tasteless and extremely repugnant scenes the like of which has never been seen in the Netherlands. It does not befit a daily paper to offer any further detail.’
c/o Pictoright Amsterdam/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam


Translated title

Desire Caught by the Tail


Artists' books

Production date

1941, druk 1944


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31.7 x 24cm.


facsimile manuscript

Object number

KBA 641