Nelson-Atkins to exhibit new Picasso photos

One of the photos of Picasso David Douglas Duncan donated to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. David Douglas Duncan, American (b. 1916). After Jacqueline gave up trying to teach Pablo a ballet routine, the moment she sat down, he twirled away in his own routine, stomping and whirling, a combination square dancer and dervish, 1957. Inkjet print (printed 2013), 13 15/16 x 20 7/8 inches. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Gift of the artist.

If you don’t already have plans for celebrating Pablo Picasso’s birthday on Oct. 25, here’s an idea.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art recently got a donation of photographs of Picasso photographs from Kansas City born photographer David Douglas Duncan, recognized internationally as one of the greatest photojournalists in the 20th century.

David Douglas Duncan, American (b. 1916). Picasso in his bathtub at La Californie. Our first meeting, February 8, 1956. Inkjet print (printed 2013), 13 7/8 x 20 7/8 inches. Gift of the artist.

The Kansas City-born photographer has given the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 161 photographs. Two of the photographs were taken during the Korean War; all the others were taken over a period of nearly two decades at the home of Pablo Picasso.

“This is a most incredible gift from one of the premier photographers of the world,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “I was honored to spend some time in France recently with Duncan and his wife, Sheila. His youthful vigor is matched only by his relentless energy to photograph the world around him.”

The 97-year-old Duncan, raised in Kansas City, has lived in a small village in the south of France since the mid-1950s. He began his career freelancing for the Kansas City Star, Life and National Geographic magazines and for Hallmark greeting cards. He is well known for his photos of the Korean and Vietnam wars. Between them, he made many visits to Picasso’s home, photographed the artist, and published seven books of photos about him.


  • A selection of the Picasso photographs will be displayed in Bloch Lobby of the Nelson from Oct 25, in celebration of Picasso’s birthday on that day, until Jan 26, 2014.
  • The Nelson-Atkins, in collaboration with the Kansas City Public Library, will offer visitors a free copy of Duncan’s autobiography, Photo Nomad on a first come, first served basis.

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