February 26, 2014

POSTED BY

Gabriela Mirensky

CATEGORY

Alas, Picasso Hated Spec Work Too!

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Pablo Picasso hated to work on spec*, and resisted taking commissions. Nonetheless, when it came to literature, he made well over 50 exceptions, illustrating the work of scores of authors he admired. As it turned out, one of these exceptions—his 1931 illustration of a short story by Honoré de Balzac, “The …

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Pablo Picasso hated to work on spec*, and resisted taking commissions. Nonetheless, when it came to literature, he made well over 50 exceptions, illustrating the work of scores of authors he admired.

As it turned out, one of these exceptions—his 1931 illustration of a short story by Honoré de Balzac, “The Hidden Masterpiece” (Le Chef-d’oeuvre inconnu)—would affect him greatly, and indirectly contributed to the creation of his most famous work, the enormous anti-war canvas Guernica.

Balzac’s story is a tale of an artist ahead of his time: as a result of the rejection and mockery of his new trailblazing painting, said artist destroys all his work and kills himself. Picasso could definitely identify with the protagonist of Balzac’s story, since he had faced a similar reaction when revealing his groundbreaking masterpiece, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, to his peers. Luckily for us, Picasso did not succumb to self-doubt and continued working in his revolutionary style. Moreover, luckily for him, he lived to see his work vindicated.

ew york branding sports graphic design firm

ew york branding sports graphic design firm

ew york branding sports graphic design firm

ew york branding sports graphic design firm

ew york branding sports graphic design firm

ew york branding sports graphic design firm

ew york branding sports graphic design firm

ew york branding sports graphic design firm

ew york branding sports graphic design firm

All images from Kirsten Lodge’s presentation Pablo Picasso’s Illustrations of Honoré de Balzac’s “The Unknown Masterpiece,” which I first discovered via the great web resource OpenCulture.

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