(Compiled by Steve Tillotson and other AHT contributors 1996 - date)
By Steve Tillotson
We started this Picasso section around 1996, triggered by the information below received from Luiz Aoiki, Stenara Afghans (USA and Brazil). In the 20 years that have followed, many other Afghan hound enthusiasts have shared photos and the section has grown to become a comprehensive collection of Picasso's Afghan hounds and related art.
We know the names of two of Picasso's Afghan hounds - #1 Kasbac (sometimes spelt Kasbec), photo's dating back to 1936. and #2 Kabul dating back to the 1960's. There may have been more than 2 Afghan hounds owned by Picasso because the two "known" Afghan hounds span a period of 30 years. We have no other info than the Afghan hounds pet names, we do not know the breeding or origin of the hounds. Maybe during the next 20 years we will find out....We will continue to add to this section as more information comes to hand. Steve, July 2017
(The following is an extract and precis from an article in Modern Dog Magazine, June 2011, entitled "Picasso's Dogs" written by Stanley Coren) - Picasso had dogs of many different breeds which included Poodles, Terriers, a Boxer, Dachshunds, a German Shepherd, and of course - Afghan Hounds. Some of these dogs were obtained from friends and were an important part of his life and they went everywhere with him. He also gave dogs to his friends as gifts. Picasso stated that he did not usually get the same breed of dog again and that he wanted each dog to be an individual and I do not want to live with the ghosts of the other dogs. Picasso explained he used to put lump in his paintings when they needed something to make them lighter and more amusing. Picasso explained that he had an Afghan Hound named Kabul who is elegant, with graceful proportions, and I love the way he moves. Picasso stated - I put a representation of his head on a statue that I created for Daley Plaza in Chicago and I do think of him sometimes while I am in my studio.. Picasso added - often, if he comes into my mind when I am working, it alters what I do. The nose on the face I am drawing gets longer and sharper. The hair of the woman I am sketching gets longer and fluffy, resting against her cheeks like his ears rest against his head. Yes, if I have a favourite, for now at least, it is my Afghan Hound, Kabul.”
By Luiz Aoki, Stenara Afghan hounds (USA and Brazil)
Other Fanciers might be fascinated to know that Pablo, Ruyz, Diego, Jose, Francisco de Paula, Juan Nepomuceno, Maria de los Remedios, and Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad , also know as Pablo Picasso ( It was a Spanish tradition to give a child multiple names ) shared life with not only one but at least two Afghans!
I first saw the picture of the Chicago’s iron sculpture when I was a teenager, reading "The Complete Afghan Hound Book" by Joan Mc Donald Brearley. Even then, I had NO doubts that the sculpture was a homage to his all time friend, companion and inspiration, the Afghan Hound.
At that time I was living in Sao Paulo-Brazil and had no idea that one day I would be living so close to the real one!
Mrs.. Brearley mentioned some of the art work featuring the Afghan Kabul as well as raising the possibility of another one . Now we have the proof that Picasso, in fact, owned a black masked red Afghan named Kazbec.
The artist’s way of life and style ( Post-Cubist life ) is suggested to be determined by five factors:
Picasso Standing In The Centre With An Older Kasbec Or Possibly Another Afghan
I’m not trying by all means, to portrait myself as a Picasso or an Arts connoisseur. I’m just intrigued by a genius who happened to have one thing in common with me! The privilege of the Afghan Hound companionship.
Now, don’t you think that Picasso created the 40+ ton. sculpture in homage or at least having in mind :
The intense, volatile, brilliant artist, revolutionary painter, writer, sculptor, collector, poet, illustrator, the Master of the new idea, father, lover, friend was also, like us common mortals, an Afghan Hound lover and admirer…
Luiz F. K. Aoki LFKA (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Betina Picasso And Afghan Hounds
By Steve Tillotson
My thanks to Luiz Aoki for the fascinating note and super photographs above. I originally posted the following photo several years ago, and at that time was totally unaware that Pablo Picasso had any involvement with Afghans. It seems fitting then to combine my original note regarding his Grandaughter Betina and Afghans with the new one from Luiz
I was fortunate to spend some time with Eileen Snelling (Khorrassan Afghans UK) before she passed on and able to view her extensive photograph collection. Eileen was especially proud of her imports overseas and in particular one to Italy - to Picasso's Grandaughter Betina. Shown below is Betina with Cerveto Of Khorrassan in the mid 1950's. Cerveto eventually become an Italian Champion.
Steve Tillotson 1996
By Steve Tillotson
The Tatler magazine April 1962.Narrative explains that Picasso has just moved house and the previous owner a Mr Plunket gave Picasso the Afghan hound named Kabul. As we can see, in this photo Kabul looks to be a puppy. So now we have a date/era for when Kabul was born, and we know who gave Kabul to Picasso. We have no idea who Mr Plunket is, but it's more info than we had previously and we will try and track Mr Plunket down in the archives.
Gretchen Barton on Facebook recently posted a series of photos of Picasso at work in his studio. In one of the photo's he is working on a chalk sketch of the statue. See below
UPDATE 4/22/2018 Added new photo below -
The sculpture, was commissioned by the architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.and dedicated on August 15, 1967, in Daley Plaza in the Chicago Loop. Picasso refused a payment offer of $100,000 stating that he wanted his work to be a gift. Mayor Richard J. Daley stated - “We dedicate this celebrated work this morning with the belief that what is strange to us today will be familiar tomorrow.” There has always been speculation about the work - which has been described as a bird, an Afghan Hound, a baboon head, or the Egyptian deity Anubis.
In an interview with Stanley Coren for Modern Dog Magazine in 2011 Picasso explained that he had an Afghan Hound named Kabul who is elegant, with graceful proportions, and loved the way he movds. Picasso stated - I put a representation of his head on a statue that I created for Daley Plaza in Chicago and I do think of him sometimes while I am in my studio..
Comment from The Chicago Tribune
Picasso's untitled sculpture proclaimed metamorphosis the chief business of an artist by crossing images of an Afghan dog and a woman. However, the effort at first did not count for much, in part because Chicago's earlier monuments--statues of past leaders--commemorated a different idea: civic achievement. Col. Jack Reilly, the mayor's director of special events, immediately urged removal of the sculpture. Ald. John J. Hoellen went further, recommending that the City Council "deport" the piece and construct in its place a statue of "Mr. Cub
Ernie Banks. Chicago Tribune (full article here)
5.1 Extract from "The difficulty of being a dog", Page 113
by Roger Grenier, Alice Yaeger Kaplan - 2000
"True misanthropes don't seek the company of dogs. A love of animals can also be the manifestation of an insatiable love of life. I dont think Picasso hated people. He had many friends. He adored women. But according to Brassai, whose "Conversations with Picasso" are an authoratative source of information, animals were as indispensable at his side as a feminine presence. At the Bateau-Lavoir, he had three Siamise casts, a dog, a female monkey, and a tortoise; a tame white mouse lived in a table drawer. He liked Frede's donkeys, which grabbed a packet of his tobacco one day; love the tame crow at the Lapin Agile and painted it - in "Woman With Crow" - with Frede's daughter, who had become Macorlan's wife. In vallauris, he had a shet goat; In Cannes a monkey. As for dogs....
Picasso braged about having reflexes as quick as a dog. He owned two large hounds as well as a Fox Terrier, a Dachschund, a Dalmation, a Boxer. They wre named Elft, Frika, Loump, Yane.
Kazbek, his Afghan Hound, a little known breed at the time, intrigued people. At the beginning of the occupation Picasso and Kazbek were accosted by a Geman officer. After this incident he ordered his chauffer, Marcel, to respond to anyone who was curious: "It's a Basset Hound from the Charentes region."
5.2 The Controversy Afghan Hound or Woman Continues Febuary 2013
I was recently made aware of an item in the Chicago Sun-Times which I post below, My thanks to Candy of Candessa Afghans for bringing the article to my attention
A dialog between Sun-Times opinion writers and our readers The Picasso and Afghan dogs
By Tom McNamee on February 26, 2013 1:53 PM
Why, oh, why did we ever doubt that the famous Picasso in Daley Plaza was meant to be an abstract sculpture of a woman?
As we wrote in an editorial last week, a new exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago makes clear that Pablo Picasso intended the sculpture to be of a long-haired woman. You can see it in his working drawings.
But could Picasso also have had an Afghan dog in mind? Without a doubt, says Sun-Times reader Diana Micek, who writes:
"Stanley Coren [an expert on the mental intelligence of dogs] once wrote in Modern Dog magazine: 'One professor of fine arts told me that Picasso had five passions: his art, his ego, his image, his women, and his dogs, in that order. Picasso's life was full of dogs....the dogs were as much a part of his life as his female companions.'
"Of all the many breeds of dogs Picasso owned, two were Afghan Hounds.
"In an interview Coren had with Picasso, Picasso is quoted as saying, 'Right now I have an Afghan Hound named Kabul. He is elegant, with graceful proportions, and I love the way he moves. I put a representation of his head on a statue that I created for Daley Plaza in Chicago and I do think of him sometimes while I am in my studio. Often, if he comes into my mind when I am working, it alters what I do. The nose on the face I am drawing gets longer and sharper. The hair of the woman I am sketching gets longer and fluffy, resting against her cheeks like his ears rest against his head. Yes, if I have a favorite, for now at least, it is my Afghan Hound, Kabul.' Coren ends the article by writing, 'Since that meeting, I have looked at Picasso's art in a different way. Now, I always look at the noses and hair and wonder if the picture I am looking at has a bit of Afghan Hound in it.'
"It should also be noted that a work Picasso painted in 1962, titled 'Femme au chien', features an Afghan Hound. It sold at London's Christies for $10,980,813 in 2012. The Afghan Hounds International website features a photo of Picasso with his beloved Afghan Hound named Kabul, taken in 1959 or thereafter.
"Having owned and loved Afghan Hounds over the past 31 years and reading this history about Pablo Picasso's similar love for the breed, I have to disagree with the new finding that the Picasso statue on Daley Plaza is of a woman. View this breed's elegance first-hand and then take a good hard look at the Picasso statue in Daley Plaza, and I'm sure you will agree that Kabul, Picasso's beloved Affie, was his inspiration for our city's statue."
Steve Tillotson, page updated 3/2013, 7/2017, 4/2018
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