Legends surfaced, proliferated by Apollinaire and Max Jacob (1876–1944), among others, about encounters between Pablo Picasso and Jarry. Some were undoubtedly apocryphal; they were made further credible, however, by the number of sketches of Ubu and Jarry that Picasso left behind. The painter used Ubu as a symbol for injustice and oppression during the political upheavals of the 1930s, especially those wrought by the Spanish general, Francisco Franco. As Picasso became more proficient in French, he learned passages of Jarry’s plays by heart and collected his manuscripts and other artifacts, even claiming that his pet owls were ancestors of Jarry’s birds.
Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), illustration, in Ubu enchaîné (Paris: s.n., 1937). The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased for the Robert J. and Linda Klieger Stillman Pataphysics Collection on the Gordon N. Ray Fund, 2018. PML 198110. © 2019 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.