1958: Pablo Picasso Holding A Gun/Holster Gifted To Him By Movie Star Gary Cooper (Colorized)
A Modern Artist In An Abstract World
Guernica, The Old Guitarist, The Blue Room, these works by Pablo Picasso are so ingrained into our consciousness that it's hard to think of him as anything else other than a tortured painter furiously working at his canvas. When speaking about celebrities we often lose sight of the three dimensional person inside the box we place them in. It turns out that Picasso had a major western fantasy.
People also tend to think of Picasso and other fine artists of the 20th century as trapped in a kind of artistic amber, away from the stars of film and television, but with Picasso that wasn't the case. He hung out with Matisse just as much as he hung out with film star Gary Cooper, an actor who was famous for his work in westerns and war films. Their friendship was so close that Cooper paid for the artist to visit the Cannes Film Festival.
Born in the 19th century, but a very 20th century artist, Picasso was never satisfied with his work. He moved through phases, styles, and even different forms of art. It's also important to keep in mind that Picasso was a populist above all else. His work, while influenced by his own inner struggles and the political struggles happening in Europe throughout his life, is also super accessible. You don't have to know about art to look at Guernica and get it.
Picasso wasn't just some fuddy duddy who made stuffy art for museums. He was well known as someone who liked to party hard in his youth, and who loved the company of women. More so than any other modern artist, Picasso represents the bipolar nature of the creative spirit. At one moment he's in his studio working diligently on his next masterpiece, and the next he's hanging out with a Hollywood star shooting pistols. That's the life.