Merry-Joseph Blondel’s enormous Neoclassical oil painting La Circassienne au Bain, also known as Une Baigneuse, depicted a life-sized young Circassian woman swimming in an idealized environment from classical antiquity. When the RMS Titanic sank in 1912, the painting was destroyed. These are among the famous paintings that sank with the Titanic. Buy did you know why the Picasso Estate was not pleased with James Cameron?
The Picasso Estate declined James Cameron’s request to use Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, but he did it anyway. The Picasso estate was not pleased that the picture was depicted in Titanic as sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
The Titanic’s Painting Breach
The first picture made almost $600 million in the United States, a record at the time. The story of the fictional star-crossed couple Rose and Jack which was played by Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio aboard the ill-fated luxury ship was dramatic and compelling as a film.
Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is safely housed in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. It was not lost with the Titanic, but James Cameron fantasized it was. He fancied it so much that he used the cubist nudes, despite the Picasso family estate’s express refusal because the masterpiece was never on board and he still used it anyway.
When the Artists Rights Society, a company representing visual artists and their estates – Picasso’s is one complained, Cameron paid a fee to use the image.
What Are Other Titanic Art Fictions?
While many of the plot aspects are fabricated or stretched for artistic license, the film is based on true events and some real characters. There was no Le Couer de la Mer or the Ocean Heart jewelry, for example. It was an excellent love plot device for propelling the film along. The blue diamond necklace, on the other hand, is based on the rumored cursed Hope Diamond. Furthermore, a sapphire necklace was found on the Titanic, and Cameron may have twisted the truth to create a false reality.
The artistic license also extended to the art possessed by Rose in the film, with some speculating that the pieces sank with the Titanic.
When Jack first enters Rose’s chamber, he examines Monet’s Waterlilies. Although the picture existed at the time of the Titanic’s sinking, it was never aboard the ship. (Source: Animal New York)
The Infamous Nude Sketch by Jack Dawson
And this painting depicts a critical Titanic sequence in which Winslet’s character Rose DeWitt Bukater requests Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Jack Dawson to create a portrait of her wearing only a blue diamond necklace called the Heart of the Ocean and nothing else. Rose is naked on a couch in her suite while Jack doodles.
Despite his many talents, DiCaprio did not draw the said nude portrait. James Cameron did. No one could deny the sketch’s significance in framing the film, regardless of who developed it. It helped a treasure hunter track down Rose 84 years later so she could share her side of the story about what happened aboard the ship. As a group of historians gathered around to listen, Rose tells the tragic love story through her eyes. (Source: ABC News)