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March remembers LUMP

Picasso's muse was a sausage dog

Did you know that Pablo Picasso had one favourite dog throughout his life?




Lump was born in Stuttgart, Germany, and named after the German word for “rascal”.

American photographer David Douglas Duncan purchased him at the age of three months, to be a companion for his Afghan Hound, Kubla. However, the two dogs did not get along very much, as the Afghan was treating Lump like a toy, rolling him around the apartment…

Lump met artist Picasso on April 19 in 1957 for a lunch at ‘La Californie’, Picasso’s hillside mansion in Cannes. David Douglas Duncan had worked with Picasso in the previous year and decided to bring Lump along for this special invitation, since  the Dachshund didn’t get along with Kubla. That’s when Picasso enquired if the dog had ever had a plate of his own. When Duncan responded ‘No, of course not’, Picasso picked up a brush and paint and made an instant portrait of Lump on his own dinner plate. With the work dated and inscribed to Lump, he handed the plate to Duncan as a gift.



Somehow Lump and Picasso connected and when Duncan realised this special bond, he just left the little rascal with Picasso who from then on called ‘La Californie’ his home. He lived a charmed life with a boxer named Yan and a cute goat named Esmeralda. Duncan often spoke of Lump and Picasso, as a love affair.




Picasso would take Lump in his arms and feed him from his hand.

Duncan would return to visit Picasso during some times and photographed the artist with Lump on several occasion. (along with Picasso’s children)

While Picasso preferred to work alone, he would often be accompanied by his little dachshund. In one series of photographs, he made a rabbit out of a sugar impregnated cardboard cake box for the dog, who carried it into the garden to eat.

Picasso once said, ‘Lump, he’s not a dog, he’s not a little man, he’s somebody else.’ Apparently Picasso had many dogs, but Lump was the only one he took in his arms.”

In 1964 however, during a visit with Picasso, Duncan was informed that Lump was unwell. The dog was suffering from a spinal condition leaving him without the use of his back legs and was being looked after by a local vet in Cannes. Duncan visited the vet and was informed that the condition could not be cured, and the vet was no longer feeding him. Duncan sought a second opinion, taking back the dog, he drove him to Stuttgart, Germany, where he found a vet who was willing to try and help him. The treatment took several months, but Lump would go on to live for another ten years, albeit walking as Duncan would describe “a bit like a drunken sailor”. He died ten days before Picasso, on 29 March 1973.


"a dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself"
Josh Billings
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