For a man who passed away 40 years ago, Pablo Picasso has had little trouble getting his name out these days. This week, his masterpiece Guernica, which depicted the bombing of a Basque village during the Spanish Civil War, will be welcomed as a source of inspiration in the conflict-weary National Center for Modern Art in Tunisia. Earlier this month, the apartment where Picasso painted Guernica became an object of dispute when the Chambre des Huissiers de Justice, which donated the space to a local arts group, decided the apartment was too valuable to give away, and sought to reclaim it. And yesterday, a Picasso painting worth $11.5 million was seized by US authorities in New York. According to the Associated Press, it will be held for the Italian government indefinitely, pending the outcome of criminal proceedings in an Italian court against the collector Gabriella Amati, who stands accused of smuggling.
Stories like these will add complexity to our understanding of Pablo Picasso, who has really lived two lives in the popular imagination: one as Picasso the painter, the other as a Picasso the character, the brooding flat-nosed Spaniard who was always loved and never understood. Movies, television, and cartoons have given us great opportunities to either affirm, complicate, or mock this reputation. Here are a few of our favorites.
Nothing bespeaks reverence for a great master artist like letting some cartoon animals point out Pablo Picasso’s initials on his apron.
Wakko: Do you know there’s “P.P.” on your smock?
Dot: That’s disgusting!