Revealed: Picasso's 'subversive' past

16th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

16 April 2004, PARIS – Pablo Picasso, one of Spain's greatest artists, wanted to be French, wartime police files released Friday reveal.

16 April 2004

PARIS – Pablo Picasso, one of Spain's greatest artists, wanted to be French, wartime police files released Friday reveal.

An application for French citizenship, signed by Pablo Picasso on April 3, 1940, is a highlight of an unprecedented exhibition
Which opens next week in Paris.

The exhibition, opening Tuesday at Paris' Musee de la Prefecture, contains a treasure trove of police files on the Spanish 20th century master.

"Mr. Justice Minister, I have the honour to apply for naturalization and agree to pay the required fees," reads a letter signed by the artist, who never did acquire French citizenship.

"Picasso's Files at the Paris Prefecture" brings together all the documents concerning the artist in the municipal police's archives, recovered by authorities in 2001.

The documents were taken to Berlin during World War II and ended up in the hands of the Soviet Union's secret service in 1945.

"It has taken us three years to complete the inventory," Claude Charlot, in charge of the police's records department, told the newspaper Liberation, who said he was astonished to find  Picasso's citizenship request.

Other documents provide a glimpse into the interest Picasso aroused in police circles.

As early as 1901, during his first stay in Paris, he was labelled  "an anarchist."

One report noted Picasso sometimes "comes home at dawn".

But another said his doorman "never heard him voice subversive opinions".

Beyond documenting episodes in Picasso's life, the files, organizers say, shed light on what it was like to be a foreigner in France at the turn of the century, on the police's obsessions and its rudimentary methods of surveillance and infiltration.

Picasso's citizenship request, submitted when he was already rich and famous, received support from the captain in charge of his file, who cited Picasso's degree of assimilation ("he has adopted our customs") and his taxpayer status ("he paid 700,000 francs in taxes in 1939).

Nevertheless, intelligence services described him as a "communist" and "suspicious" and prevented him from obtaining citizenship.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

                                   Subject: Spanish news

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