By John Richardson
John Richardson attracts at the related mixture of vigorous 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 throughout the the most important decade of 1907-17 - a interval within which Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque invented Cubism and to that volume engendered modernism. Richardson has had exact entry to untapped resources and unpublished fabric. by means of harnessing biography to artwork background, he has controlled to crack the code of cubism extra effectively than any of his predecessors. And via bringing a clean mild to undergo 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 process, his incisive imaginative and prescient and never least his sardonic humour been analysed with such readability.
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Watercolor and pencil on paper, 31x24 cm. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Cone Collection. "1 To understand Picasso’s revisionism, we have to go back to his first public repudiation of African art, in 1920, a time when he was in thrall to classical sculpture, and to that extent in reaction against primitivism. It was not so much tribal sculpture as the vogue for it that had put him against it. These magical objects had taken the place of Tanagra figures as a decorator's cliché. The astute dealer Paul Guillaume was largely to blame for making tribal art le dernier cri.
He always insisted that it was very cold in there. 56 The visit is thus likely to have taken place around early March, when Derain—not only the instigator of Picasso’s visit but also (according to Gilot) his companion—returned from a month away from Paris. 57 Sometime in April Picasso sold this sketchbook to Leo Stein, who dis membered it. 58 Picasso was so stunned that the Steins had thought these sketches precious enough to treat in this way that he decided to have the same thing done to the Demoiselles,59 Leo Stein confirms this, but with charac teristic bitterness attributes this sensible precaution to the artist’s vanity: Picasso.
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.
A LIFE OF PICASSO VOLUME II: 1907-1917 by John Richardson