Although he had turned a blind eye, like Sartre and Beauvoir and many other French intellectuals, to Soviet brutality in Eastern Europe, Picasso’s faith in communism had already begun to falter when, in March 1953, Aragon commissioned him to do a portrait in commemoration of Stalin’s death for Les Lettres Françaises, the Party’s literary journal. Aragon was blamed when Picasso’s stylized rather than idealized image of a heroic, overly mustachioed young leader was received with howls of derision by Party members when it was published.