Sunday, July 13, 2008

J'aime Picasso!

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And I especially love A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932. This book, as with the previous two volumes, is too overwhelming to try to reduce into a pithy blog post. Read it (but start with the first volume) and love it. Just to leave you with a taste, here are a few pits I liked.

On Classicism:
Picasso saw eye-to-eye with Stravinsky, who believed "the only critical exercise of value must take place in art, i.e., in pastiche or parody." [How postmodern!] Picasso chose parody.
On Picasso's relations with other artists:
Picasso seldom put lesser artists down. Time and again, he would discreetly give them money, buy their work or get dealers interested, and even marry them off. [Juan] Gris, however, was not a lesser artist. He had absorbed the lessons of cubism at Picasso's elbow and had gone on to take cubism a stage further by dint of calculations, the like of which Picasso and Braque always distrusted. Ironically, Gris's discoveries were so impressive that Picasso did not hesitate to take advantage of them.
On being rich:
Despite the devaluation of his work, Picasso suffered little from the crash. [...] Picasso was about to buy one of the most expensive cars at the Salon de l'Automobile, a large, luxurious Hispano-Suiza coupe de ville. Picasso, who had experienced greater poverty than most of his painter friends, ejoyed driving around, to Olga's dismay, in this ostentatious chaufffeured car wearing an old suit the worse for paint stains, cigarette burns, and plaster dust. As he said more than once, "I would like to live like a pauper with lots of money."

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