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Irvine 1 Painting the War Picasso s Genre Works During the German Occupation of Paris History of Art Senior Thesis by Zoe Laura Irvine Advisor Professor Saltzman May 2 2005 Irvine 2 I have not painted the war because I am not the kind of painter who goes out like a photographer for something to depict But I have no doubt that the war is in these paintings I have done Later perhaps historians will find them and show that my style had changed under the war s influence Myself I do not know Picasso 1944 shortly after the liberation of Paris 1 What do you think an artist is An imbecile who has only his eyes if he s a painter or ears if he s a musician or a lyre at every level of his heart if he s a poet or even if he s a boxer just his muscles On the contrary he s at the same time a political being constantly alive to heart rending fiery or happy events to which he responds in every way How would it be possible to feel no interest in other people and by virtue of an ivory indifference to detach yourself from the life which they so copiously bring you No painting is not done to decorate apartments It is an instrument of war for attack and defense against the enemy Picasso 1945 2 Picasso spent the years of the German Occupation in his apartment and studio in Paris painting still lifes and portraits Bracketed by such distinctly political works as Guernica of 1937 and The Charnel House of 1945 the question of the artistic politics of Picasso s genre works of the war years is unavoidable In this thesis I argue that the genre subject and style of Picasso s works during the Occupation are inextricably linked to the war torn times in which he was working I make no claim that through painting still lifes and portraits Picasso was crafting some sort of political manifesto Rather I intend to demonstrate that despite the seemingly mundane thematic choices these works are expressive vehicles of human suffering which potentially operated as private even subconscious acts of resistance



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