Chicago Sun-Times
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The Picasso and Afghan dogs

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Why, oh, why did we ever doubt that the famous Picasso in Daley Plaza was meant to be an abstract sculpture of a woman?

As we wrote in an editorial last week, a new exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago makes clear that Pablo Picasso intended the sculpture to be of a long-haired woman. You can see it in his working drawings.

But could Picasso also have had an Afghan dog in mind? Without a doubt, says Sun-Times reader Diana Micek, who writes:

"Stanley Coren [an expert on the mental intelligence of dogs] once wrote in Modern Dog magazine: 'One professor of fine arts told me that Picasso had five passions: his art, his ego, his image, his women, and his dogs, in that order. Picasso's life was full of dogs....the dogs were as much a part of his life as his female companions.'

"Of all the many breeds of dogs Picasso owned, two were Afghan Hounds.

"In an interview Coren had with Picasso, Picasso is quoted as saying, 'Right now I have an Afghan Hound named Kabul. He is elegant, with graceful proportions, and I love the way he moves. I put a representation of his head on a statue that I created for Daley Plaza in Chicago and I do think of him sometimes while I am in my studio. Often, if he comes into my mind when I am working, it alters what I do. The nose on the face I am drawing gets longer and sharper. The hair of the woman I am sketching gets longer and fluffy, resting against her cheeks like his ears rest against his head. Yes, if I have a favorite, for now at least, it is my Afghan Hound, Kabul.' Coren ends the article by writing, 'Since that meeting, I have looked at Picasso's art in a different way. Now, I always look at the noses and hair and wonder if the picture I am looking at has a bit of Afghan Hound in it.'

"It should also be noted that a work Picasso painted in 1962, titled 'Femme au chien', features an Afghan Hound. It sold at London's Christies for $10,980,813 in 2012. The Afghan Hounds International website features a photo of Picasso with his beloved Afghan Hound named Kabul, taken in 1959 or thereafter.

"Having owned and loved Afghan Hounds over the past 31 years and reading this history about Pablo Picasso's similar love for the breed, I have to disagree with the new finding that the Picasso statue on Daley Plaza is of a woman. View this breed's elegance first-hand and then take a good hard look at the Picasso statue in Daley Plaza, and I'm sure you will agree that Kabul, Picasso's beloved Affie, was his inspiration for our city's statue."

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1 Comment

This is such a stretch as to be thin. The Picasso has lips and if you step to a 15 degree angle from the front - a clear profile of a woman resolves. It is a cubist portrait of a woman from the shoulders up - a bust.

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This page contains a single entry by Tom McNamee published on February 26, 2013 1:53 PM.

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