Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Pablo Picasso was an artist who painted really weird pictures, but we can forgive him for that because he also really loved dogs.  In fact, he loved dogs so much that he always owned at least one, and he gave dogs to his friends so that when he visited them, they would have a dog around for him to enjoy.

One of the dogs that Mr. Picasso loved most was a little dachshund named Lump.  This seems like a silly name for a dog, but it's really a German word that means "rascal," and you pronounce it "loomp."

In the beginning, Lump belonged to a photographer named David Douglas Duncan, who bought him from a German family when he was 3 months old.  Lump was supposed to be a pal for Mr. Duncan's afghan hound, Kubla, but the two dogs didn't get along very well.  So when the photographer went to visit Pablo Picasso at Villa La Californie in Cannes, he took Lump along with him.  This was in April, 1957.

Photo by David Douglas Duncan

Mr. Duncan and Lump stayed there for 9 months, while Mr. Duncan took pictures of whatever he wanted to, including lots of pictures of Mr. Picasso.  At lunch on the first day, the artist asked if Lump had ever had a plate of his own, and when Mr. Duncan said no, Mr. Picasso picked up a brush and painted a picture of the dog on a plate.  Then he gave the plate to Mr. Duncan as a gift.

Photo by Pete Smith

Lump made himself right at home with Mr. Picasso and his future wife, Jacqueline Roque.  He even got along with Yan, the boxer, and Esmeralda, the goat.  Mr. Duncan said, "This was a love affair.  Picasso would take Lump in his arms.  He would feed him from his hand.  Hell, that little dog just took over.  He ran the damn house."  Of course, when it was time for Mr. Duncan to leave, Lump stayed with Pablo Picasso.

The dachshund lived there for 6 years, and he sometimes got painted into Mr. Picasso's artwork.  For example, there was this painting by Diego Velázquez called Las Meninas that Mr. Picasso liked to paint in his own strange way.  And one thing he did was put Lump in the painting where the original had a mastiff.

Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez

Las Meninas by Pablo Picasso

Sometimes Mr. Duncan would come to visit at the Picasso villa and take more pictures.  Then in 1964, Mr. Duncan found out that Lump had hurt his back, and he couldn't use his back legs anymore.  A local vet was taking care of him, and he said the dog could not be cured.

Mr. Duncan decided to get a second opinion, so he took Lump back to Stuttgart, Germany, where he first got him.  He found a vet there who was willing to treat Lump, and after several months, the little dog could walk again, but when he did, Mr. Duncan said it looked "a bit like a drunken sailor."  Lump lived for 10 more years, and he died on March 29, 1973, which was only 10 days before Pablo Picasso died.

Almost 30 years later, David Douglas Duncan published a book of photos called Picasso & Lump: A Dachshund's Odyssey.  The photographer said that while Lump lived with Mr. Picasso, he was totally pampered.  "Picasso had many dogs," Mr. Duncan added, "but Lump was the only one he took in his arms."


  1. A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.

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    1. This ia one of the best quotes I have ever read

  3. I have to tell you, 'Lump' is not a silly name for a dachshund. I knew one whose nickname was 'speed bump' because of his habit of placing himself, like a lump, in the middle of a busy doorway and falling asleep.

    Also, nice to see someone else notice Picasso's involvement with dogs. When I asked a friend of mine to design a logo for my blog (The Dogs of San Francisco) I handed her a printout of the first sketch you have in your post and said, 'I want it to look kind of like this, only different'. Astoundingly, instead of treating me in an appropriate manner (probably involving striking me about the head and shoulders) for telling her 'just do it like Picasso would have', she produced something awesome.

    Anyway, happy trails, and tails, and tales, and keep up the good work. It's not often that I find a dog blog that has been around even longer than mine.

  4. did picasso have two dogs? if so,what was the second dogs name?

    1. Picasso apparently had various dogs during his lifetime, but he was most devoted to Lump, the dachshund. He also had a boxer named Yan and a goat called Esmeralda. I couldn't find the names of any of his other dogs, but if you have time to do the research, you might be able to find out more.