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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

P. Ruiz ?

A couple years ago, in writing about Picasso's father (12-28-10), I received an interesting  reaction from one of my readers. In checking my guest book I found an entry from a Ms. Donna Castlegrant taking issue with what I'd written on Jose Ruiz Blasco. Here is part of what she had to say:

Don Jose Ruiz Blasco, 1870
"I read your bio on Jose Ruiz, and it is misleading and filled with disinformation. This is not your fault as Picasso's father was a very good artist and worked his craft like the masters. In fact after speaking to an expert in the field of Picasso and his family, [I found that] Picasso did not paint his first painting until 1900. All the portraits that came before were in fact painted by his father. Jose Ruiz looked to make money off of his son's talent. Currently there are over 500 paintings in various museums in Europe and Istanbul and France, signed P. Ruiz. Picasso never signed a painting P. Ruiz. His father in his zeal to have the young protégé noticed and made famous, painted many, many paintings and signed it P Ruiz. Picasso's father signed all of his own paintings J Ruiz. There has been a very large cover up by the family.

Portrait of the Artist's Mother, 1896,
clearly signed (lower left corner),
P. Ruiz Picasso. Pablo would have been
fifteen at the time. Was the "Picasso"
added later?
Ms. Castlegrant continues: "These are the facts. My Aunt worked for the American Consulate in Spain in Madrid. She worked there in the late 1940's to early 50's. She went to Barcelona with the distinct intent on buying a Picasso. She went to his Studio and had seen literally hundreds of paintings. None of the paintings were signed, and none were dated. Something that Picasso did when he first started to sign Picasso. Picasso signed all of his own paintings, PICASSO. When his father died, Picasso received all of his father's work. What he did was erase the name P Ruiz from all of the paintings because his father fondly signed most of his work P Ruiz. The Picasso family knows full well that none of this work was done by Picasso. You can clearly see the difference in the work. Just take a look at an early Picasso portrait of Picasso as a young boy, painted by his father. It is painted in the way of the masters. [I've been unable to find any such painting.] Another portrait done in the way of Velasquez attributed to Picasso was clearly done by his father. The family sold Picasso's paintings for millions. Picasso changed his style and changed his name to distance himself from his father, [the latter part said to be true] because his father was clearly making money off of his son's name. Picasso took his mother's name, because his father was signing all of his own work, P Ruiz."
View of the port of Malaga, 1888-90, claimed
 by Picasso to be his first painting, copied from
memory of a painting by his father. According to
Picasso. It was painted by candle light while
hiding under his sister's bed.  It's just outlandish
enough to be true. The signature is clearly
"P. Ruiz." (The father's painting was also a copy.)
Note: I've been unable to substantiate most of  Ms. Castlegrant's claims from any other source.
Pigeons, 1888, Don Jose
Ruiz Blasco, note the
"signature," lower right

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