Picasso: Life and Art

By Pierre Daix; Olivia Emmet | Go to book overview

28
A NEW DEPARTURE
1944-1946

At sixty-three Picasso reappeared in public, after four years of voluntary confinement and public silence. He had begun a new love affair, which was still secret and probably more fraught with risk than earlier ventures of the kind because Françoise—born after the First World War—was from another generation. Did he recognize the risk? She was still only an intermittent presence in his life, but a presence already felt in his painting. Would his work enter a new phase now as it did after 1918? For that to happen, peace was necessary. Although France had been almost entirely freed from Nazi occupation, both Germany and Japan had still to surrender. At this point Picasso's first move was to put his past in order—an imperative which led him to join the Communist party. He gave his reasons in an interview with the American magazine New Masses, which was reprinted by Humanité.

I have joined the Communist party without the slightest hesitation because, basically, I have always been a supporter.... These terrible years of oppression have taught me that I must fight, not only with my art but with my person. I felt a pressing and urgent need to find my homeland. I have always been an exile. But now that's over. While I wait for the day when Spain once again can receive me, the Communist party of France has opened its arms. And in that embrace I have found all those whom I admire ... and all the fine faces of insurgent Paris which I know from the days of August on the barricades. And I feel that I am once again with brothers.

As with Picasso's ties to the Surrealists at the time of the Minotaur, the passage of time raises questions in this case, too. Were there not, right from the start, considerable misunderstandings? Certainly Picasso was the star catch of a national campaign of recruitment. On 4 October in the offices of Humanité, Marcel Cachin and Jacques Duclos solemnly received the painter as a member, along with the art critic Francis Jourdain, who was five years Picasso's elder, with little taste for either Cubism or Surrealism.

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