Picasso: The Fine Art of Theft

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Succession Picasso, 2008; The Metropolitan Museum of Art

FIGHT CLUB: Picasso's Le Matador (left), one of more than 300 works on display in "Picasso and the Masters," was inspired by Manet's Matador Saluant (right)

Pablo Picasso rampaged like a minotaur through modern art's china shop. He almost single-handedly invented Cubism, and he imposed his protean creativity on painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, photography, engraving, textiles, ceramics, set design and even poetry. He was definitely one of a kind.

And a thief. Picasso lifted themes, compositions, techniques and color schemes from other artists with a brazenness bordering on felony. His victims — or inspirations — included Cézanne, Courbet, Cranach, Delacroix, El Greco, Goya, Ingres, Matisse, Poussin, Puvis de Chavannes, Rembrandt and Utrillo. He did not merely imbibe their influences, but copied their works obsessively....