The Cock of the Liberation (Le Coq de la Liberation)

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)
The Cock of the Liberation (Le Coq de la Liberation), 1944
Oil on canvas
39 1/2 × 31 3/4 in. (100.33 × 80.65 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1959.372
Photo credit: Larry Sanders
© 2008 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Currently on View

This painting is a telling example of how Pablo Picasso frequently expressed his passionate political convictions in his art. The proudly strutting rooster that dominates the center stage of the composition is a long-standing symbol of France. The image of the Gallic cock crowing to announce a new day celebrates the liberation of France from the Nazis in 1944. Picasso frequently used animals to fulfill anthropomorphic roles (famously in Guernica in 1937, another contemporary subject) and to serve as heraldic icons (his dove of peace). For this tribute to a momentous event in French history, the Spanish artist also adopted a bright palette with pronounced surface drawing more characteristic of French painting than his customary style.

Publication History
Rogan, Matthew. From the Collection—Pablo Picasso’s The Cock of the Liberation. Entry posted September 8, 2015. (accessed September 15, 2015).

Picasso, Pablo. Picasso: Fred og frihed. Humlebæk: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2011, p. 42, color pl. 4.

Morris, Lynda, and Christoph Grunenberg. Picasso: Peace and Freedom. London: Tate, 2010, p. 79, color pl. 9.

Morris, Lynda, and Christoph Grunenberg. Picasso: Frieden und Freiheit. Vienna: Albertina, 2010, p. 96, color pl. 9.

Milwaukee Art Museum News, April 2006, cover, color illus.

Milwaukee Art Museum News, September 2005, no page number, color illus.

Andera, Margaret, Nonie Gadsden, Britt Salvesen, and Laurie Winters. Collection Guide: Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2004, pp. 50, 72, cat. 82, color illus. p. 50.

Macmillan/McGraw-Hill School Publishing Company. Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Reading (2003): Practice Book (Grade 5) (Teacher's Edition). New York, NY: Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, 2003. color illus.

Macmillan/McGraw-Hill School Publishing Company. Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Reading (2003): Practice Book (Grade 5) (Pupil's Edition). New York, NY: Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, 2003. color illus.

Milwaukee Art Museum. Building a Masterpiece: Milwaukee Art Museum. New York: Hudson Hill Press, 2001, p. 130, color illus.

Macmillan/McGraw-Hill School Publishing Company. Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Reading (2000): Practice Book (Grade 5) (Teacher's Edition). New York, NY: Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, 2000. color illus.

Macmillan/McGraw-Hill School Publishing Company. Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Reading (2000): Practice Book (Grade 5) (Pupil's Edition). New York, NY: Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, 2000. color illus.

Picasso, Pablo, Steven A. Nash, and Brigitte Baer. Picasso and the War Years, 1937–1945. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1998, color illus. p. 256.

Abe, Nobou, ed. dir. 20th Century Masters from the Milwaukee Art Museum. Translated and edited by Brain Trust Inc. Japan: 20th Century Masters from the Milwaukee Art Museum Catalogue Commttee, 1994, p. 58 and 136, cat. no. 23, color illus. p. 59.

Goldstein, Rosalie, ed. Guide to the Permanent Collection: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986, p.140–41, b/w illus. p. 141.

Milwaukee Art Center. Personal Selections from the Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley Collection. New Orleans: Bradley Family Foundation, 1975. color illus. p. 49.

Milwaukee Art Center. Picasso in Milwaukee. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Center, 1971, b/w illus.

Isaac Delgado Museum of Art. Selections from the Collection of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley: New Orleans: Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, 1969, color illus. p. 49, cover.

Milwaukee Art Center. The Collection of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Center, 1968, p. 25, cat. 20, color illus.

E.F. Schmidt calendar, Jan–Feb. 1966. color illus.

Milwaukee Journal 1960. color illus.

Milwaukee Art Institute. Six Great Painters: El Greco, Rembrandt, Goya, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Picasso. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Institute, 1957, p. 63, b/w illus.

Meta Mold Aluminum Company. Meta Mold Aluminum Company. Cedarburg, Wisconsin: Meta Mold Aluminum Co, 1953. cat. 32.

Dagron, Jean, and F. J. Beer. Grands peintres contemporains: Catalogue of an exhibition held in Ville de Nice, Nice, France April–May. [S.l.]: Éditions JSM Publicité, 1946. cat. 51.
Exhibition History
Picasso: Peace and Freedom, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, England, May 21–August 30, 2010; Albertina, Vienna, Austria, September 16, 2010–January 16, 2011; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark, February 11–May 29, 2011.

Picasso and the War Years: 1937–1945, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, October 10, 1998–January 3, 1999; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, February 5–May 9, 1999.

20th Century Masters from the Milwaukee Art Museum, Isetan Museum of Art, Tokyo, July 2–August 9, 1994; Matsuzakaya Art Museum, Nagoya, August 11–September 4, 1994; Hokkaido Asahikawa Museum of Art, Asahikawa, September 10–October 16, 1994; Daimaru Museum, Umeda-Osaka, October 19–November 7, 1994; Chiba Sogo Museum of Art, Chiba, November 26–December 29, 1994; Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art, Marugame, January 14–February 26, 1995.

Picasso in Milwaukee, Milwaukee Art Center, October 25–November 28, 1971.

Selections from the Collection on Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley, The Isaaac Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 7–December 28, 1969; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, January 19–February 15, 1970.

The Collection of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley, Milwaukee Art Center, October 25, 1968–February 23, 1969.

Bradley Collection, Milwaukee Art Center, February 1–March 4, 1962.

Animals and Birds, Milwaukee Art Center, October 19, 1957–January 26, 1958.

Six Great Painters: El Greco, Rembrandt, Goya, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Picasso, Milwaukee Art Institute, September 12–October 20, 1957.

An Exhibition of Contemporary Art Collected by American Buisness, Meta Mold Aluminum Co., Cedarburg, Wisconsin, April 21–April 27, 1953.

Grands Peintres Contemporains, Ville de Nice, Nice, France April–May, 1946.


This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.