Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chuck y Pablo

Our last day in Barcelona and we went to the Picasso Museum.  The last time I was there I was 19, and my Chuck Berry problem was still in it's original full flower.  That was 36 years ago.  The hotel I shared with my brother Danny cost $2.  But in those days I wouldn't have made the connections I made today.  As I walked through the museum I saw that the series of paintings Picasso did on Las Meninas was made in 1957.  Pablo was already a superstar.  Chuck was getting there.  And I saw that a couple were painted in late August, 1957.  This one, on the 27th.

I knew that date!  When Pable was painting, Chuck was probably still enjoying the pleasure of having done a show in Sacramento with his idol Louis Jordan.  Heck, given the time difference, his ears were probably still ringing.

Picasso kept working on the series, and Chuck kept touring.  Picasso's life looked easier.  He was living in Cannes with a balconey overlooking the Mediterranean.  In October he was painting red versions of Las Meninas. 

What Pablo was doing was similar to what someone like Chuck did when he covered "Time Was" three or four times (probably the same year!)  Picasso was playing with a famous painting by Velasquez-- one we saw for the first time in Madrid a few days and several lifetimes ago.  In the painting, a little princess stares at the viewer while people paint her, and fuss over her, and enter the room to gaze upon her.  Picasso painted a dozen different riffs on it, often several in a day.  Here's the original.

Chuck, meanwhile, had joined up with the Fats Domino tour and by the time Picasso was seeing red, Chuck was back in Sacramento for what might have been the first of so many birthday shows.  The little town never had it so  good.


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