Picasso’s Bicycle

From an interview with Picasso, reprinted in Picasso on Art, A Selection of Views

“Here’s how it was conceived: I noticed in a corner the seat and handlebars of a bicycle, placed in such a way that they resembled a bull’s head. I assembled these two objects in a certain way. Finally, I made this handlebar and seat a bull’s head that everyone recognized as a bull’s head. The metamorphosis was accomplished and I wish another metamorphosis would occur in the reverse sense. If my bull’s head were thrown in a junk heap, perhaps one day some boy would say: ‘Here’s something which would make a good handlebar for my bicycle Thus, a double metamorphosis would have been accomplished.”


In a museum that celebrates the car in the main lobby with a garish display of Ford’s lit up like xmas trees,


two floors up, I find Picasso’s found art. A bicycle seat and handlebar the artist wished we’d take down from the wall and rebuild into another bike. If we did, expect a crazy, perspective-shifted, leather-saddled art bike that transforms and changes shapes. Also one that would periodically take a new lover and change styles. As Monty Python reported, Picasso once tried to paint while racing his bicycle.

From Gallery 9: Picasso and War

Tete de taureau (Head of a Bull), Paris, spring 1942
Leather bicycle saddle and metal handlebars
Pablo Picasso
Spanish, (worked in France) 1881-1973
13 3/16 x 17 1/8 x 7 1/2in. (33.5 x 43.5 x 19cm)
At Seattle Art Museum

Tech Note

Picasso at SAM is getting well-deserved rave reviews and while there, we discovered a mobile site with embedded audio fired off by Microsoft’s Tag app. Bonus while using your smartphone to learn about art, is you can listen to the Wu Tang while trying to spot the mutton chops in Le Matador. Looks like:

Alabama split, hammer slay quick. That David Banner gamma ray shit …

We're riding townies, adventure, and mountain bikes. Find recommendations on our store page. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.