Flirtation with Franco dents Picasso's left-wing credentials

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Picasso is admired for his shifting perspectives and rebellious spirit, but last week the great artist played another posthumous trick on historians. Although his political sympathies are known to have lain with the hard left, it turns out he was not above breaking bread with Franco's regime. In 1956 the dictator's representatives made a concerted, but secret, effort to woo Picasso into agreeing to the staging of a prestigious retrospective in fascist Madrid.

It's hard to believe the creative intelligence behind a work such as Guernica, depicting the destruction of the town by German and Italian bombers in support of Franco during the civil war, could have considered such a proposal. But it seems that Picasso's desire to be well-regarded in his homeland was a competing force....

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