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Picasso the Cartoonist

Picasso cartoons

The idea that Picasso was as much a cartoonist as fine artist is certainly not original, but it’s never been more evident to me than at the Picasso exhibition currently on display at the Met. It’s worth seeing if only for the last couple rooms which present a large selection of lithographs, etchings and drawings from his late years.

These drawings are a revelation–piece after masterful piece of stunning cartoon design with some sequential storytelling also thrown into the mix. Looking at them, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the pen-and-ink cartoons of indie comic artists like Gary Panter and C.F, and by extension, animated shows like Adventure Time. It turns out that Picasso was an indie comic artist long before the term existed, and approached cartooning with an uninhibited and expressive approach that puts most of today’s indie comic practitioners to shame.

I took some photos at the show. There’s more Picasso cartoons after the jump:

(click image for larger version)
Picasso cartoons

Picasso cartoons
  • Professor Widebottom

    Picasso was so ridiculously talented that I almost hate looking at his stuff, as it makes me want to give up and spend the rest of my days working the grill at Jack in the Box. He was a cartoonist, sculptor, painter, cubist, abstract artist, ceramicist, etc… all executed masterfully. You just can’t overestimate his influence and talent, though evidently he was a phenomenal ass to the ladies in his life.

  • Bob Harper

    No surprise that Virgil Partch cited him and the Easter Island statues as his main influences for his famous style.

  • Rooniman

    Now that is a work of art.

  • Steve Menke

    While it isn’t animation in the strictest sense, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1956 documentary “The Mystery of Picasso” offers fascinating depictions of works in progress (which now only exist in this film):


    DVD’s still in print.

  • christy

    wow these are so great!

  • Picasso loved reading the Sunday Funnies. He often would take them over to Gertrude Stein’s apartment and the two would laugh through them together.

  • Akbar Shahzad

    Professor Widebottom, I deeply sympathize. Picasso certainly makes me feel that way. But then, so does Michael Sporn up there. You, of course, have made me feel like a cheeseburger. Curse you. Dinner is hours away.

  • Picasso, who loved, Rudolf Dirks, knew very well the work of George Herriman and Saul Steinberg. Not long ago there was an exhibition in Paris of doodles made by Picasso on the pages of newspapers, many of them where in the pages of the “funnies”.

  • Bill Field

    Captain Marvel creator, C.C. Beck wrote an essay years ago “Picasso was a cartoonist” it was a fascinating exploration of this very topic, I wish I could find it online to share.

  • Brett

    Although I do appreciate the history and relevance of Picasso, he wasn’t an ‘out of box’ thinker as most give him credit for. If you look at old Aztec and Inca art, they’re also distorted like his drawings, however; like Warhol, the era mixed with his charismatic personality and conviction made his art mainstream.

  • The family and I went to the High Museum to check out the
    Picasso to Warhol exhibit. To see Picasso’s ‘Girl Before a Mirror’ in person is truly amazing. One of my absolute favorites.

  • Ron

    In Shamus Culhane’s book “Talking Animals and other people” there’s a story about how Picasso had a mutual friend approach Shamus about collaborating on an animated project. Then the mutual friend died, as did the chance of animating with Picasso. That really would’ve been something!