“Great artists steal.”–Pablo Picasso
At the hair salon on Tuesday, waiting for my appointment to start, this National Geographic on the table. The headline, “Pablo Picasso: artist, provocateur, rogue, genius,” and in the bottom lefthand corner, a quote from the artist: “When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you’ll become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the pope!’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”
Context matters! When did Picasso say this self-aggrandizing statement, and to whom?
He said it later in his career, comfortable with his status as a living legend, sometime between 1943 and 1953, after Cubism, after Surrealism, to one of the many women he abused, an artist herself, Francoise Gilot. A woman whose cheek Picasso burned with a cigarette when she refused to move in with him. A woman whose paintings Picasso told art dealers not to buy after she finally left him.
To that cover of National Geographic, I humbly submit this addendum (from a December 8 2016 story in Elle Magazine). Context matters!