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

By John Richardson

John Richardson attracts at the similar blend of full of life writing, severe 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 in which Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque invented Cubism and to that volume engendered modernism. Richardson has had special entry to untapped resources and unpublished fabric. by way of harnessing biography to paintings heritage, he has controlled to crack the code of cubism extra effectively than any of his predecessors. And by way of bringing a clean mild to endure at the artist’s frequently too sensationalised deepest lifestyles, he has succeeded in arising with a unconditionally new view of this paradoxical guy of his paradoxical paintings. by no means sooner 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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Archives Picasso. 27 2 Raymonde Picasso. Mother and Child, spring, 1907. Oil on canvas, 81x60cm. Musée Picasso. Opposite: Picasso. Head of Raymonde, ■May-June, 1907. 6cm. Private Collection. In the spring , Picasso , who seldom strayed far from Montmartre, had a pretext for visiting the Bois de Boulogne. He and Fernande had adopted a young girl. An outing in the park would have been mandatory. This ill-fated adoption was Fernande’s idea. She had had a miscarriage in 1901 and was apparently unable to complete a pregnancy.

I wanted to comment on the animal nature of women," he said. And what better vehicle for this than that whorehouse staple, the dog-faced woman—the embodiment of the raunchiness that Baudelaire extolled? This, I think, is how we should see the demoiselle on the right, squatting post-coitally on a bidet, twisting her Medusa face around to administer the shock of horror that will leave her client wallowing in disgust—for her, her sex and himself. These eye-catching masks made for a dilemma. Should Picasso repaint the two central Iberian girls in a similar vein or leave the painting unresolved?

50 The artist took great umbrage. He insisted that Christian Zervos, who was compiling his catalogue raisonné, issue a dis­ claimer:51 In recent times Picasso confided to me [Zervos wrote] that the critics have never taken the trouble to study his picture closely. Had they noticed the clear similarities between the “Demoiselles d’Avignon” and Iberian sculpture, especially the general structure of the heads, the shape of the ears, and the delineation of the eyes, they would never have fallen into the error of suggesting that this picture derived from African statuary.

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