Pablo Picasso

War Years

In 1936, a Civil war between the freshly formed republican government and the fascist regime of General Franco broke out in Spain. Picasso did all he could to support the anti-fascists: his canvas was his battlefield, and his weapons were the brush and paints.

In the beginning of 1937 the artist started his series of graphic works "The Dream and Lie of Franco." It was performed in aquatint technique and printed in postcard format; part of the proceeds gained from the postcards being sold (about 300,000 francs) was donated by the artist to support the republican government of Spain. The plot depicted therein was scenes of suffering of the Spanish people: houses on fire, weeping women, refugees and corpses, and General Franco in the midst of it all, in his most disgusting role types, and, of course, the symbol of wrath - the bull, attacking him.

In April 1937, the whole world was shocked by the news of fascists bombing Guernica, a small town in the center of the Basque Country. As a result, the major part of the city was destroyed and about 300 people were killed. Outraged by this attack, Picasso, supported by the Spanish government, created a huge black and white canvas Guernica, depicting ... Or rather, screaming about the horrors of the war. Ostentatiously simplified, distorted by horror, as though cut out from the darkness, the images moan, weep, call out. This canvas, measured 8 by 3.5 meters, painted by the artist in just two months, became the main anti-war masterpiece of the XX century. In summer, the same year, the canvas was exhibited at the World's Fair in Paris, becoming the central object and symbol of the Republican Spain pavilion.

When the Second World War broke out, Picasso settled in Paris where he continued working, creating pictures pertaining but not limited to the anti-war topic. The works of this period do not depict military actions directly, but resorting to the language of painting they convey everything that war brings over once started: pain, fear and despair.

Pablo Picasso. Naked woman couchee, 1941
Naked woman couchee, 1941
Pablo Picasso. Serenade (L`aubade), 1942
Serenade (L`aubade), 1942

All war-period works