Cuban Picassos savor newfound link to Pablo
By Lucia Newman
CNN Havana Bureau Chief
HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- Delia Picasso and her relatives used to joke about
last name, but no more.
"When I told people my name, they would ask jokingly, 'Are you a relative
of the famous painter?'" Elvira Guillermina Picasso said. "And I would
answer back, 'Yes,' ... as a joke, of course."
From now on, it's no joke.
Three years ago, while trying to fill gaps in the Spanish painter's life
history, the Pablo Picasso
Foundation tracked down his Cuban relatives.
According to the foundation, Pablo Picasso's grandfather, Francisco, sailed
Cuba, in 1864, abandoning a family in Malaga, Spain, that would produce the renowned Cubist
painter and sculptor.
There he met a free black woman, Cristina Serra, with whom he had four children.
Although Delia is first cousin to Pablo Picasso, who was born in 1881 and
in 1973, she never heard about her Spanish ancestors while growing up.
"Our ancestors were very poor, and in those days they had no means," she
said. "They simply brought us up as best they could."
Delia's nephew, Ramon Picasso, a radiologist in Cuba's largest pediatric
believes racial taboos have kept quiet information about their Spanish heritage.
"Back in those days, the union of a black woman with a white man during
conflict between Cuba and Spain, ... well, it was very unusual, very
complicated," he said.
Today, the "Black Picassos," as they call themselves, are thrilled about
connection to the artist.
Even before hearing the news, Luis Picasso, another of the artist's Cuban
cousins, kept a clipping printed with the name "Picasso" in his wallet. He found
the coincidence in their last names amusing, he said.
"For me, its very satisfying to discover this kind of family relationship,"
Ramon Picasso, the only family member to visit Spain, says Pablo Picasso
about his Cuban relatives and unsuccessfully tried to contact them.
Despite their famous bloodline, only one of the 30 Cuban Picassos has shown
any interest in art.
"Genius can't be reproduced genetically," Ramon Picasso said. "A genius
genius, and that's what Pablo was."