What was Picasso doing in the final days of the occupation of Paris?

In the last days of the German occupation of Paris the Parisians brought out arms, put up barricades, and fought the Germans (and the Collaborators) with ferocity. The city was filled with gunfire and explosions. Parisians were fearful that the Germans would burn the city. Picasso was there, but what was he doing?

Picasso was political enough to support the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, paint Guernica, and dabble in Communism, but he was a creator. He had to paint, sculpt, draw, or model as others have to eat. He loved women, but he loved creating much more. He had many friends, but none of them mattered as much to him as creating.

In the last days of the Occupation Picasso painted tomato plants, but at the very end he walked across Paris, a dangerous thing to do, to Marie-Theresa Walter’s flat on the Île Saint-Louis, picked up a reproduction of Poussin’s The Triumph of Pan, and painted his own version.

The-Triumph-of-Pan-xx-Nicolas-Poussin

Why The Triumph of Pan? Perhaps for no reason other than that he picked up the reproduction. Perhaps because the lovemaking in the countryside seemed as far away as possible from the killing in the city, Perhaps because the frantic orgy had overtones of the orgy of murder in the city? Perhaps because of the colours. Perhaps because the composition: it would be like doing a jigsaw. I doubt he knew, and we will never know. But we can speculate endlessly, much of the pleasure.

Picasso Pan

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