It looks like the modern Mac icon – which was originally created in 1997 and it’s the current Finder’s icon – was inspired by Picasso 1934’s Two Characters. It’s likely a coincidence, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Apple and Picasso go way back:
This is the original Mac icon. It was nicknamed the Picasso Mac, although it wasn’t created by the Spanish genius. While it was inspired by his work, the design was made by Tom Hughes and John Casado, who were art directors on the original Macintosh developement team.
Steve Jobs wasn’t very impressed, but it became the graphic symbol for the Mac, featured in the packaging, manuals and in every old Mac’s Welcome to Macintosh screen, which was displayed as the operating system loaded into memory and the extension icons marched on the bottom of the screen.
Later – with the introduction of System 7.5.1 – that welcome screen image changed to the “Happy Mac” blue icon. “Welcome to Mac OS” it said, which made fanboys sad.
The design represents a happy computer screen and a happy user, in lighter blue. It became the face of the Mac, and it was licensed to use by developers as part of the Made for Mac branding campaign.
The image was eliminated from the operating system when Mac OS X arrived, only surviving in the Finder’s icon which lives in every dock of every iMac, MacBook and Mac Pro.
Apple’s Think Different campaign also featured Picasso, both in the iconic video and the series of black and white posters featuring His Steveness’s creative heroes. [Macintouch]