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James Cameron’s Fight Over a ‘Titanic’ Painting Lasted 15 Years and Sparked a Debate in the Art Community


While the film was released over 25 years ago, Titanic remains a favorite for film fanatics. The movie was the talk of the 1998 Oscars, winning 11 Academy Awards that year. Although there is no debate about Titanic‘s popularity, the film has had its share of off-screen drama, including director and writer James Cameron‘s admittance about his biggest regret about the movie. However, one of the longest debates was about Cameron using an image of one of Picasso’s paintings in Titanic

The Pablo Picasso painting in ‘Titanic’ that sparked a debate

Pablo Picasso painting 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' which was argued to use in James Cameron's 'Titanic'
Pablo Picasso painting ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ | STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images

As the director and writer of the iconic 1997 movie, James Cameron spent a lot of time researching the history of the Titanic. It is no secret that when the massive ship sank in 1912 that many priceless works of art were lost too. While it was never on the ship, Cameron wanted to use Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” in the movie, according to the New York Times. Despite his efforts and appeals to Picasso’s estate, the actual painting was never approved to be removed from its decades-old display location at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. However, many fans of the film will remember that Rose, played by Kate Winslet, pulls the famous Picasso painting from her luggage when settling into her room. Cameron used an image of the artwork in Titanic for this scene, which sparked a debate among the art community.



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