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Arts & Life

How Pablo Picasso And Diego Rivera Influenced Each Other


A new art exhibition is called "Picasso And Rivera: Conversations Across Time." It opened this week at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which is where NPR's Mandalit del Barco found the grandsons of both masters.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Bernard Ruiz Picasso and Juan Coronel Rivera met for the very first time yesterday.

JUAN CORONEL RIVERA: Being grandson of somebody, it's difficult, you know.

BERNARD RUIZ PICASSO: Yeah, I know, but I found it very fantastic.

DEL BARCO: They compared notes while standing in front of a 1914 still life Diego Rivera painted in the Cubist style created by Pablo Picasso. It's being shown publicly for the first time - Picasso family's collection, says his grandson.

PICASSO: That work relates that friendship. Both Rivera did a version and Picasso also did a version of that same subject. So it's really fascinating.

DEL BARCO: In a case next to them is a photo Picasso gave his friend in return, as well as a letter Picasso wrote him, says Rivera's grandson.

RIVERA: With a very polite writing that says, I agree with you in everything. Rivera always was admiring Picasso's work. He always called him my master, my mentor.

DEL BARCO: The Mexican and the Spaniard, born five years apart, had been classically trained child prodigies, both lived in Paris and were part of the avant garde. Their grandsons say they met up in studios and in cafes with other intellectuals.

RIVERA: There were philosophers. There were not only painters. They really put the most important ideas of the moment.

PICASSO: Talking about modernity, about what art should be or what art should not be.

RIVERA: And they were trying to do art also for the people for social ideas.

DEL BARCO: Rivera would go on to start the Mexican mural movement. Picasso would later paint his masterpiece "Guernica." The artists were sometimes frenemies, but this exhibition shows how they influenced each other.

RIVERA: Imagine where they were talking. Wow.

DEL BARCO: Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.