On This Day: 74 Years Ago Picasso Came To Poland! | Warsaw Insider
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Find Out Why  Today marks 74-years since the arrival of Pablo Picasso to Poland. The famed artist first set foot in Wrocław, where he... On This Day: 74 Years Ago Picasso Came To Poland!
On This Day: 74 Years Ago Picasso Came To Poland! On This Day: 74 Years Ago Picasso Came To Poland!

World Congress of Intellectuals at the Wrocław Technical University on August 25th 1948 (photo: NAC)

Find Out Why 

Today marks 74-years since the arrival of Pablo Picasso to Poland. The famed artist first set foot in Wrocław, where he attended the World Congress of Intellectuals held at the Wrocław Technical University on August 25th 1948. The event was organized by the government and, according to Jacek Borowski, aimed, “officially at least, (…) to bring together a host of world-famous figures in the cause of peace.” Unspoken as it might have been, authorities also hoped it would slow the West’s development of nuclear weapons.  

Picasso speaking at the World Congress of Intellectuals (photo: NAC)

For Picasso, the trip was the first occasion on which he had flown. Sitting by the window, the artist observed with interest how fields of crops of varying shades of green, brown and yellow formed a patchwork of angular shapes on the ground below. “After this flight I know what cubism really means,” he reportedly exclaimed. After visiting Wrocław, Picasso also appeared in Kraków and Warsaw. It was in the latter where he left his most famous mark – today surviving only in photographic form. 

Picasso at the World Congress of Intellectuals (photo: NAC)

Among the activities prepared for Picasso in the capital was a visit to the newly-constructed Koło housing estate. An early example of such a structure, the building was designed in a post-war modernist (rather than Socialist Realist) style. Enamored with the architecture, Picasso decided to draw on the wall of one of the apartments. He painted a characteristic mermaid – the symbol of Warsaw – holding a hammer instead of her usual sword. Luckily, the unexpected drawing was quickly snapped by photographers because future inhabitants of the apartment decided to paint it over – it seems that some truly cannot stand not being in the limelight.  

Picasso’s Mermiad in an apartment on Deotymy 48, apartment 28 in Koło housing estate before it was removed (public domain)

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