Another year begins.

The start of a new year is a good time to look at the work that was accomplished over the past year. It is the right time to take stock, and this year will be no exception.

Once again, 2016 has been a busy year for the FCI Office –we owe it to the extensive activities of our members, of their breeders, of the exhibitors, etc. 2016 has been a year of major and remarkable events. A year during which our new premises have been brought to life as we organised a few receptions and hosted the meetings of several Committees or Commissions.

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Y. De Clercq
Executive Director
Picasso’s dogs or, to put it another way, Picasso and dogs?

When artists paint they put part of their emotions, feelings and interpretations into something they like or admire, placing it before the public as a transitional object from which people pick up on different brushstrokes depending on how they are feeling; thus Picasso moved from Cubism to animate beings, in a way that expressed what he himself was feeling. There was nothing terribly extraordinary about Malaga-born genius’s relationship with dogs, as can be glimpsed in the many photographs in which he is pictured with one of these animals. The genius needed time to create and, just like his father, who felt an attraction for the pigeons he painted and sometimes fed in the Plaza de la Merced in Malaga, or admired in his friends’ dovecotes, Picasso felt an attraction to dogs, but he did not have the time to spend on them so both he and his father before him began to paint the animals which meant so much to them. Once he had left his Cubist phase and his "near" social autism behind, Picasso saw dogs as loyal animals which did not judge him or give him funny looks but, as he was highly critical of his own emotions he did not feel either physically or emotionally equipped to look after one of these magnificent creatures, although he did feel comfortable with them and was intrigued by the beautiful bond between men and dogs. As a result of this, although dogs are a constant in the maestro from Malaga’s painting, and he enjoyed not only painting them but being photographed with them doing all sorts of everyday things, as we have noted above, he never wanted to own a dog himself, instead passing the responsibility on to his partner or children, or else he would simply look after a friend’s pet for a while or paint and draw animals he knew and liked.

Psychology tells us that if we ask children to draw an animal, their choices can tell us something about their characters and certain hidden desires. Children who choose to draw a dog show a kind-hearted, loyal character, effectively depending on the people close to them, and their generosity is firmly based on the need to have lots of friends around them with whom they can play, amuse themselves and have fun. This is the prototype of the "pampered" child and if they are unable to gain their companions’ approval, they become sad and melancholic. Although usually generous, sometimes when asked to do something they may start grumbling and snorting, in other words protesting, but this soon passes. Another ability that children of this kind have is that they can seem to have a sixth sense about people... THEY CAN GROW UP TO BE GREAT SEEKERS, RESEARCHERS, POLICE OFFICERS, PSYCHOLOGISTS OR CREATIVE ARTISTS - Picasso was a seeker, a researcher and a great creative artist.

This hypothesis about Picasso’s character is something I share with the dog breeder and psychologist Dr V.G. Mancuso. In his case it is due to his profession and in my own also because of the fact that I have studied morphopsychology and graphology.

From one of the great biographers of the painter and his work, Rafael Inglada, and also from notes taken from my own personal archive, what follows is a list of animals which accompanied Picasso, either in his life or work, or in both facets:

Clipper (La Coruña, 1891-1895), a "mutt" he painted in 1895. He was not the dog’s owner.

Feo (Paris, circa 1904), another "mutt" he painted in 1904-1905. He was not the dog’s owner.

FRIKA, a mixed-breed bitch which Picasso and Fernande Olivier took along for company firstly in the Bateau-Lavoir (circa 1904-1909). Soon afterwards they took in another dog, *Gat. In 1907, and Picasso did drawings of the dog with her pups. In 1909, when he moved to 11 Boulevard de Clichy, Frika once again lived with Picasso, alongside *Monina and a few *cats. A year later (1910), she travelled with Picasso and Olivier to Cadaqués. In 1912, after Picasso’s relationship with Fernande Olivier ended, the bitch was left in the hands of Georges Braque for a number of days, and when the latter was sent to Céret, Picasso and Eva Gouel looked after her.

GAT. The dog which accompanied Picasso – together with *Frika – in the Bateau-Lavoir for a while (1904-1905). In December 1904, Picasso produced a pencil drawing on paper called “The actor”, a character study with heads of Fernande in profile, hands, ear and the dog Gat (private collection). She may have died in 1906.

A wire fox terrier whose name we do not know. A dog which may have been given to Picasso and Fernande Olivier by Miquel Utrillo in Barcelona, when the pair of them travelled to Gósol (Lleida) in May 1906. From there they wrote to Guillaume Apollinaire on 21st June of that year, telling him that they had been given the dog in Barcelona.

Sentinelle (Avignon, 1914), another dog he looked after, although it actually belonged to the painter André Derain, who also drew it.

Bob (Boisgeloup, 1930s), a Saint Bernard. We do not know for certain whether it belonged to him or was lent to him temporarily by friends.

Noisette (Paris, 1930s), an Airedale which was taken on a trip to Barcelona in 1933 (he appears to have owned this dog). This was a breed that was very popular with the intellectuals of the time, as was the case with Francisco Pino, a famous poet from Valladolid.

Ricky (Paris, 1940s), a poodle, which seems to have belonged to his daughter Maya.

Kasbek (Paris, 1940s), an Afghan which he drew on various occasions in the 1940s.

Yan (Cannes, 1950s), a boxer which he also painted.

Lump (Cannes, 1950s), a dachshund which belonged to Duncan and which he painted on a plate. The dog died in 1973, the same year as Picasso himself.

Perro (Cannes-Vauvenargues, 1950s-60), a Dalmatian, painted by Picasso on numerous occasions, the dog did not belong to him.

Kaboul (Vauvenargues-Mougins, 1960s), an Afghan.

Sauterelle (Mougins, 1960s-1970s), an Afghan.

Igor (Mougins, 1970s), an Afghan which belonged to Jacqueline and died after Picasso.

Conclusion: The great legend of twentieth century Cubist painting liked dogs, but never really had one of his own. Instead he delegated responsibility for the animal and looking after it to his family, friends or partners because, in a self-critical sense, he had the self-awareness to realise that he would not be a good owner for an animal. To paraphrase Saint-Exupéry, Picasso never had the privilege of allowing himself to be domesticated by this wonderful animal.

Dr Vincenzo Gianluca Mancuso (psychological part) and Rafael Fernández de Zafra (historical part)