I don’t know how this Spanish case over who has custody over a Picasso portrait, the Spanish government or the billionaire owner, is going to turn out, but I heard a nice story that I’d like to pass along.
It took place at an outdoor café, I believe along the Riviera. Picasso was at a table chatting with a family. The family wanted show the Great Man their daughter’s artwork, so, with the little girl at the table, they pulled out one of her creations. Picasso examined it and said, “Yes, but let’s see another way of doing it. We could begin like this,” and he began drawing on a napkin. He made a few lines, said a bit more, then drew more. Soon an elegant sketch was taking form. Meanwhile, all eyeballs from the surrounding tables had turned toward Picasso and especially this napkin. What would it be worth?
Picasso discussed his drawing with the girl, pointing out how a few strokes of a pencil could stand in for a lot more detail. But then, looking around to his expanded audience, he added, “But enough about me! What about you? Let’s see you draw something else!” And with that, he shredded his napkin into little pieces.
I heard this second-hand from someone who claimed they knew someone who was there. The specifics may be wrong, or maybe the whole story is apocryphal. If any readers can pin it down, I’d appreciate it.