John Richardson draws on the same combination of lively writing, critical astuteness, exhaustive research, and personal experience which made a bestseller out of the first volume and vividly recreates the artist's life and work during the crucial decade of 1907-17 - a period during which Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque invented Cubism and to that ...
John Richardson draws on the same combination of lively writing, critical astuteness, exhaustive research, and personal experience which made a bestseller out of the first volume and vividly recreates the artist's life and work during the crucial decade of 1907-17 - a period during which Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque invented Cubism and to that extent engendered modernism. Richardson has had unique access to untapped sources and unpublished material. By harnessing biography to art history, he has managed to crack the code of cubism more successfully than any of his predecessors. And by bringing a fresh light to bear on the artist's often too sensationalised private life, he has succeeded in coming up with a totally new view of this paradoxical man of his paradoxical work. Never before has Picasso's prodigious technique, his incisive vision and not least his sardonic humour been analysed with such clarity.
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Publishers Weekly, 1996-09-16 Richardson believes Picasso was "as much sinned against as sinning," at least during the period covered here. This abundantly illustrated second installment of a masterly, indispensable biography puts Picasso in a new light. Shattered by the death in 1913 of the father he loved and hated, the rebellious son concealed his grief but later would claim that the countless pigeons and doves in his pictures were a form of "repayment" to his pigeon-fancying parent. The messianic artist we meet here was misogynistic but also generous and loving. Sulking and bad-tempered (perhaps due to his stomach ulcers), he also displayed brightness of spirit and intelligence. He was a macho pacifist; a hypochondriac; an animal lover gifted with a rapport with dogs and birds. Picasso is often accused of betraying his friend, poet Guillaume Apollinaire, who was arrested in 1911 on charges of stealing Iberian sculptures from the Louvreæstatues he and Picasso acquired from the thief, a Belgian drifter, but Richardson maintains that Picasso justifiably resented his friend for incriminating him in the theft. While Picasso escaped charges of receiving stolen goods, perhaps by pulling official strings, Apollinaire, released after days of interrogation and public humility, was devastated by the scandal. Currently a professor of art at Oxford, Richardson befriended Picasso and his circle in the 1950s while living in France, and the artist's friendsæMax Jacob, Jean Cocteau, Georges Braque, Apollinaire, confidantes Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklasæcome vibrantly alive. In a tour de force of scholarship, sleuthing and critical empathy, Richardson charts Picasso's invention (with Braque) of cubism, his escape from it and his rebirth as a classicist. (Nov.)
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