A LIFE OF PICASSO VOLUME II: 1907-1917 by John Richardson

By John Richardson

John Richardson attracts at the related mix of full of life writing, serious astuteness, exhaustive learn, and private event which made a bestseller out of the 1st quantity and vividly recreates the artist’s existence and paintings through the the most important decade of 1907-17 - a interval within which Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque invented Cubism and to that quantity engendered modernism. Richardson has had specific entry to untapped resources and unpublished fabric. by way of harnessing biography to paintings background, he has controlled to crack the code of cubism extra effectively than any of his predecessors. And through bringing a clean gentle to undergo at the artist’s usually too sensationalised inner most lifestyles, he has succeeded in arising with a unconditionally new view of this paradoxical guy of his paradoxical paintings. by no means earlier than has Picasso’s prodigious approach, his incisive imaginative and prescient and never least his sardonic humour been analysed with such readability.

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That Picasso worked on the Nu à la draperie until the end of August is confirmed by a study for it (or possibly after it) on a page of a magazine, Le Vieux Marcheur, dated August 23. 3 1 The Steins would buy the painting off the easel when they returned from Italy, in September; in 1913 they would sell it to Sergei Shchukin. Since it was not exhibited outside Russia until 1954, it never attracted the attention it deserved. A related oil sketch of more or less the same figure with legs barbarously wide apart heralds the six months or so of intense involvement with African sculpture—a period that was formerly called Negro and should now perhaps be known as Totemic.

I understood what the Negroes used their sculpture for. . The fetishes were . . weapons. To help people avoid coming under the influence of spirits again, to help them become independent. Spirits, the unconscious (people still weren’t talking about that very much), emotion—they’re all the same thing. I understood why I was a painter. All alone in that awful museum, with masks, dolls made by the redskins, dusty manikins. 49 It is no easy task to establish when this crucial visit took place. For reasons of his own, the artist was forever changing his story.

Like a head [in] your collection). ”23 Nor would he forget Picasso answering the door barefoot, wearing nothing but a shirt and hastily pulling on a pair of trousers; nor the squalor of the downstairs studio: the strips of old wallpaper that had come away from the walls, the mountain of ashes higher than the stove, the dusty stacks of canvases and “the African sculptures of majestic severity” (so much for Picasso’s story that he was not yet aware of tribal art). In his 1920 account of this memorable meeting, Kahnweiler is far from enthusiastic about the Demoiselles.

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