The year was 1938. The magazine was Przekroj. Stanczyk was looking for Wojtek (the heroic Polish Army bear from World War II — that I have written about before). In keeping with my meme: #ThingsIFind Whilst Looking Up Other Things, I thought I’d share this piece of art which caught my eye. Stanczyk likes Books and Art and Fowl — so this meme has two of those likes in it.
At any rate, to give you some context ,1938 is the year before World War II would break out. Things are tense in Europe as the continent is rife with Fascists and Totalitarians popping up like little yellow dandelions arcoss an otherwise well tended lawn. The Spanish Civil War had broken out in 1937 and “Picasso expressed anger and condemnation of Francisco Franco and fascists through his art .”
[ source: wikipedia ]
I will leave it to the reader to interpret this cubist chicken and what it symbolizes.
A few years after the publishing of this Picasso etching, Picasso joined the French Communist Party (1944) attended a peace conference in Poland — were there such things in World War II Poland in 1944? In 1950 Picasso wins Stalin Peace Prize(??) and in 1953 Picasso paints a portrait of Jozef Stalin [see below]. This was criticized by the Stalinists as being “insufficiently realistic”. Hah! That is funny, you have a cubist artist paint a brutal dictator and you criticize the work as, “insufficiently realistic”. The Art World is Infused with Irony. This elicited Picasso to make the following statement, “I have joined a family, and like all families, it’s full of shit”.
I suppose Poland embraced the 1938 Picasso etching because of its agrarian roots. After all when my grandmother was a young maiden, any woman of note had her chickens and the eggs they produced. I have fond memories of sneaking into my grandmother chicken coop and fretting her chickens — curiosity is a curious curse
So this is what I found while looking up other things. Now I will post the Picasso portrait of Stalin for comparison or irony or satire.