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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Cuba's Picasso steps into the art world

Juan Antonio Picasso's got exciting genealogy and painting in his blood. So watch out for him!


If you're all set on having that beach house and convertible after retirement, chances are that you have explored the idea of investing in art. So have you considered a Picasso to keep you in comfort later in life?

Every Picasso fan, at some point must have wanted to own an original work. One may want some of his etchings, or something from the blue period or a work from his cubism period Well, owning an original Pablo Piccaso in this lifetime might not become a reality, most likely due to budget constraints! But a slightly lesser known Piccasso could be yours for the right price.

Juan Antonio Picasso's ancestors

Francisco Picasso Guardeƃ±o and Cristina Serra's first son,
Juan Francisco Aurelio Picasso Serra (1879-1924)

Francisco Aurelio Picasso's wife, Elvira Granados,(1878-1977)

Juan Antonio Picasso is a descendant of Pablo Picasso's grandfather. He has just opened an exhibition of 15 watercolours at a Havana Gallery last year. Though he admits that the famous last name is not helping him sell too many paintings. So, how is he related to the great man Pablo himself? Juan Antonio's great-great grandfather was Francisco Picasso Guardeno, who was the grandfather of the famed painter Pablo Picasso.

The family history becomes colourful at this point. According to published sources, Francisco Guardeno left Malaga, Spain and his wife and four children behind and headed for Cuba. Here, cupid struck and he fell in love with Cristina Serra, the daughter of a freed slave and started another family. He named the four children from this marriage after the ones he left behind in Spain. This familial ties bound him down more permanently to Cuba.

To date, this multi-racial love story has left behind 41 descendants, out of whom 31 are alive. They all descend from Juan Francisco Aurelio Picasso and his wife Elvira.

So Juan Antonio Picasso has the right genes and the flamboyant personal history. He told CNBC-TV18, "These are different time periods and he made a mark in his. His (Pablo) beginnings weren't very successful and there were times at the beginning of the 20th century, that he burnt frames to keep warm."

Well, if any of that talent has been inherited along with the last name, go and get yourself one of Juan's work. A 1905 Picasso was auctioned by Sotheby's for a record-breaking $104.1 million last year. So you never know, you may be sitting on a potential goldmine with Juan's paintings on your walls.

Written for www.moneycontrol.com

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