Coquelicot Art of the First World War
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  3-Picasso

Pablo Picasso, Gunner Guillaume de Kostrowitzky, 1914, ink and watercolour on paper, 23 x 12.5 cm.

© Succession Picasso 1998. Any other rights reserved.

 
The fighting men
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3 - Pablo Picasso

Apollinaire enlisted in 1914, in proof of how completely French he was - despite his Polish name and his cosmopolitan origins which made him suspect in the eyes of a rabidly nationalistic public opinion. His friend Picasso paid tribute, not without irony, to his ardour. The drawing is a pastiche of popular prints depicting Napoleon's glory. No symbol is missing, not a gun, a map, a sabre nor the touches of light in red, white and blue. Yet the line refuses virtuosity, the disproportion is visually disturbing and it becomes impossible to view the work as even a friendly homage. Picasso, who, being a Spanish national, avoided conscription, would have no truck with the ultra-patriotic exaltation to which Apollinaire was prone.