The colorful and fanciful painting on the right, Pablo Picasso's Night Fishing at Antibes, is one of the artist's most winsome oils of the outdoor scene. Painted in 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II, it then represented a new line for Picasso, whose abstract techniques have done more to influence 20th century painting than that of any other artist.
The scene was one well familiar to Picasso, and he translated it with exuberance and vivid color into his own personal and stylized painting. He shows the spear fishermen of Antibes, in the south of France, working close to the shore, luring the fish to the surface with a lamp. Their activities have stopped some interested bystanders on the quay, two girls who pause in the languid evening to watch the outcome. One (at the right) holds a bicycle and licks at a double-dip ice cream cone. In the background on the left is the blocky form of the old castle of Grimaldi which, since the time of the painting, has become a Picasso museum.
Today, of course, practically every major museum in the world boasts at least one Picasso, for whether one looks in amusement, confusion or admiration, one is compelled to look.
MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK
IN "NIGHT FISHING AT ANTIBES," PICASSO SHOWS THE TENSE EXCITEMENT OF FISH-SPEARING