How Picasso earned 12 bottles of wine from Yugoslavia

During his lifetime, Pablo Picasso has also done film posters. One of them was the poster for the most expensive Yugoslav film of all time “The Battle of Neretva” directed by Veljko Bulajić. Veljko Bulajić met Picasso in Monte Carlo in 1964 at the film festival. When the movie was filmed and its worldwide distribution started (the film was nominated for Oscar in the category the Best Foreign Film and was screened in more than 80 countries), Veljko Bulajić commissioned from Picasso’s agent in Paris a poster for the film that will be used on the western market, primarily in the UK.

Picasso found it interesting to design a poster for a film coming from Yugoslavia, so he decided to watch the movie first in order to make the final decision. After watching the film and getting to know the history of Yugoslavia, he decided to use the motifs of his painting “The Rape of the Sabine Women” for the poster and to paint them red (symbolism of anti-fascist fight for freedom ).

Pablo Picasso refused a fee for this poster, but in return sought 12 bottles of wine from Yugoslavia. The contemporaries remember that Veljko Bulajić, a genuine winelover, prepared a collection of 12 bottles of wine from Dalmatia, Serbia and Macedonia and handed it personally to Picasso.


Text Tomislav Ivanović