Picasso Paints the Korean War

This week marks 60 years since the armistice was signed on 27 July 1953, bringing an end to the Korean War. The conflict was the first military offensive of the Cold War and its repercussions continue to this day.

The conflict provoked Pablo Picasso, a devoted Communist, to put brush to canvas to express his outrage at America’s participation in the war.  Massacre in Korea blended Picasso’s distinct Cubist style with a design based on The Third of May 1808, painted by Francisco Goya during the Napoleonic Wars.

130730 Massacre in Korea

Massacre in Korea was first exhibited in the May Salon of 1951, causing instant controversy. Denounced as ‘subversive’ in France and the United States – with MoMA director, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., describing the work as ‘anti-American propaganda’ – the painting was (conveniently) dismissed as an ‘aesthetic failure’ in comparison to Picasso’s earlier anti-war masterpiece, Guernica.

Image: Pablo Picasso, Massacre in Korea, 1951. Courtesy Musée national Picasso, Paris

4 thoughts on “Picasso Paints the Korean War

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s