Just a little horse

The Guardian’s website – where I seem to be getting a lot of my info at the moment and should probably return to a more diverse pool of news – tells me that a doodle of a horse by Picasso is set to fetch about £20,000 at auction.

This has annoyed me greatly. Picasso’s output was vast, diverse, and interesting. This is not about owning something interesting or for the love of the doodle because a) nobody in their right mind would pay £20k for a scribble and b) it’s not a particularly good or interesting horse.

This is actually about owning a damn Picasso. It’s about buying status and taste and intellect. It’s about chumming up to a dead man by paying for something  he touched. It is most certainly NOT about a doodle of a horse otherwise it wouldn’t be coming with a letter from the artist’s daughter promising authenticity.

Picasso was absolutely addicted to creating – drawing for him was akin to smoking. Both were daily habits, necessities even . He produced and produced and produced. Do we think he was vastly bothered about this particular horse? Do we think he valued it? Do we think he lavished the same attention and emotion on it as he did the horse of Guernica? No. He doodled it.The clue is in the word ‘doodle’ and the dictionary backs me up: Doodle – To scribble aimlessly, especially when preoccupied.

The Guardian article has this to say:

Picasso drew horses throughout his career, perhaps most memorably the terrified, violated horse in Guernica.

How kind of them. My own  phrasing would have been: “Picasso recognised and was a part of a great tradition of art involving horses – his output is peppered with wonderful versions of the creature. This is not one of them.”