In a 1985 interview, Basquiat recalled: “Probably seeing Guernica was my favorite thing as a kid.” On a high school trip as a teenager, he became reacquainted with the work, which remained on extended loan at MoMA until it was returned to Spain in 1981.
Basquiat’s encounters with Picasso’s Guernica have been much mythologized—by both the artist, who emphasized its impact on him, and his most devout fans. One of Basquiat’s theme was to portray artists, athletes, and musicians he admired. He painted Untitled (Pablo Picasso) in 1984.
On July 2, 1984, Basquiat had a chat with Andy Warhol. His friend and mentor told him that “if he wanted to become a legend too, he should just keep going like he was.
The art critic Henry Geldzahler, a strong and early supporter of Jean Michel Basquiat comments on the fact that the portrait of Picasso is also a self portrait of Basquiat. Indeed, the figure’s broad nose and unkempt black hair bear a strong resemblance to Basquiat.
Jean-Michel Basquiat interviewed by Becky Johnston and Tamra Davis, Beverly Hills, California, 1985
Andy Warhol diaries
Jean Michel Basquiat by Henry Geldzahler, Interview Magazine, January 1983
exhibition catalogue for “Post-Picasso: Contemporary Reactions,” Michael FitzGerald
Basquiat and Picasso, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 30" x 24" (76x67 cm)