The family met with Mr. Picasso in the Spring of 1947 in Vallauris near Golfe Juan in the South of France. The family had been planning on going to Spain for a few weeks, and Mr. Picasso asked them to visit with him when they returned, and so the family came back a few weeks later. Upon the family’s return Mr. Picasso presented the pilot with a gift in appreciation for the favor that the pilot had done for Mr. Picasso in 1938. The gift was an oil on canvas painting of Don Quijote de la Mancha, dedicated to the pilot and his wife with their names inserted within the painting.
Mr. Picasso’s explanation for the subject matter was that he had selected the subject of Don Quijote as personification of the great struggle, especially in the air, that the pilot had been engaged in, against impossible odds.
The pilot was overwhelmed gratitude and excitement over the painting and touched by the thoughtful gift. He recalled Mr. Picasso telling him “No one can ever deny that I painted this for you - as I have made your names part of the painting itself”...
The pilot shows at the bottom of the painting - as part of the design - where the names are…
In efforts to protect the privacy of the family - their full names are not divulged on this site - however ... If you look at the Don Quixote - above Picasso’s signature - all the way to the left - (in the grass) - you will find the A…followed by n n. (The wife’s name is Ann).
On the far right what appears to be a bunch of scribbled lines that spell out the pilot's name - however - rather than being straightforward - it strikes more of a resemblance to the pilot’s signature. Below is a sample of the pilot's signature.
Picasso's statement that "No one can ever deny that I painted this for you - as I have made your names part of the painting itself”... becomes very clear - as anyone could claim a name - but it would be impossible to claim a signature.
The family's last name is clearly legible and underlined. In the later drawing created in 1955, the first letter of the last name has been changed to an X, but the remaining letters are consistent.
The family continues with their visit with Mr. Picasso, and they take pictures together with Mr. Picasso and the paintings. Mr. Picasso was very excited about the camera that the pilot had - as it was a leica camera, something that Picasso had a particular fascination with..
The pilot gave Mr. Picasso the camera...and in their excitement forgot to take out the film before they left.
Understandably - the photographic proof of the painting was not on the mind of the pilot, rather he was touched by the emotional gift he had received from Picasso. The pilot was grateful that he had something to give Picasso in return. Picasso responded to the pilot giving him the camera by giving him two more paintings - to which the pilot accepted so long as Picasso let him buy one more painting.
With all of the excitement, it is understandable that the pilot left the film, but more importantly - at that time - in that moment - was something that the pilot would have never imagined needing.