This is rich, grand biography It s the 3d volume of Richardson s monumental biography of the iconic artist As well as being satisfyingly detailed about Picasso himself, Richardson, in relating the course of the life, has to necessarily explain those around Picasso and the events linking them So it all becomes a big, glorious telling But Richardson isn t all surface narrative This is critical biography by an incisive art expert and analyst More, as a friend of Picasso s his understanding worms deeply under the artist s skin and into his psyche These are the years 1917 to 1932 of Olga the wife and Marie Therese the young mistress Richardson s thorough discussion of the individual works is especially interesting in its gloss on how these two women affected his art That alone is worth the read Richardson understands how Picasso made what he did, and why Recently I read something about Richardson being concerned he might not finish his biography I think he s now in his 80s The next volume, I understand, is to be the last It must be going to be a real whopper because when this 3d volume leaves Picasso he has 41 years left to live We know that many artistic triumphs are ahead, especially the influence of the Spanish Civil War, the impact of which was apparently considerable We know that much romantic turmoil is ahead We know that Richardson will tell it well.
Picasso believed that only supreme graphic mastery could enable an artist to break every conceivable rule and, if he wanted to, draw as badly that is to say as instinctively as he liked When Picasso does any pointillism, it is in fact to create fake surfaces such as wood or marble As Kenneth Clark wrote, the nude remains our chief link with the classic disciplines Picasso draws nudes posing on a beach with tiny heads and huge feet, images from his childhood dreams this leads to his extraordinary plays of proportion and surreal juxtapositions This volume goes into both Picasso s Volumetric Classicism and Surrealism Periods Of the later, John says Picasso s penchant for dismemberment and reattachment he loved displacing things to put eyes between the legs, or sex organs on the face To contradict I want to paint like a blind man, who does a buttock by feel This is Volume Three, the Diaghilev Olga years, where many pages are about Diaghilev s troubles or Olga, who gives Picasso a son or their many vacations somewhere in the sun.
This book is so well researched that Richardson could have made it boring and too heavy, but luckily he is an excellent writer art historian who perfectly weaves hilarious stories in with expert analysis and new approaches to in famous works by Picasso The stories and letters feature Picasso dueling with the surrealists and Appollinaire s supporters and dealing with his beau monde wife Olga gallavanting along with famous others like Stravinsky and Coco Chanel The paintings and sculptures are well explored, as they made me flip back and forth between the text and the pictures so much.
My favorite bit was just how much all the artists of the period were intertwined the Murphys became the Divers in F Scott s This Side of Paradise but the Divers ended up being a closer parallel to the author and his drunko wife I can t wait to read the first two volumes to get of Picasso s bohemian roots I loved him before but this definitely helped.
You don t have to be an art person to appreciate this read, but you might want to enjoy the 1920s as this book is 500 pages long.
Rich indeed, Mr Richardson, incredibly rich I would like to live like a pauper with lots of money Picasso, p 385 John Richardson was introduced to Picasso in the 1950s, and that firsthand knowledge of the man and his work buttresses the third volume of this monumental study Richardson exhibits not only a stunning grasp of the artist s profession, including the iconography, languages, and influences, but also an understanding of how Picasso s private life informed his art The result is a rare balance of first rate art criticism and a primer on the energy and chaos that define the modern Michael Dirda compares the author s vision to the academic work of E H Gombrich and Kenneth Clark, concluding that, in a good way, Richardson s tell all biography reads something like a high brow gossip column Stay tuned for the fourth, and final, volume.
This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.
One does not read this book, one lives with it, and does so in the manner of having to live with an intelligent, proud, once actively engaged but now pass artist uncle The text is huge in understanding, so illuminating as to be blinding, but in the end wearying in its digressions providing the necessary scaffolding to understand the monumental artistry of Picasso It will take weeks to slough off the effects of this comprehensive, comprehending uncle whatever I shall think will be have to be run through the funnel of Picasso s vision often than I d like I will see even sleeping cats as Picassos.
Imagine sitting through an entire semester of Calculus IV complete with the expectation that you have an insiders view of Wave Theory in one week It is that intense Richardson does, especially in the concluding third of the book, manage to enter the complex mind of Pablo Picasso Riding with Richardson, one gets the sense that the artist is not so difficult to perceive, but as far beyond the grasp as Quantum Mechanics.
No student of painting should overlook this book, but no student should read it This is a book that should only be read by people who already have spent time grappling with what occurs at the end of the brush It would be too influential, too corrupting, for an unformed student Reading it, one may find and even encounter the Minotaur, but there is not string leading one back out into daylight Go instead to Patrick O Brian s reminiscence He has the string Once you ve learned the passages, then attempt this.
As for why not five stars Because there are so many references to paintings that are not included cost that I found it necessary to read with Google always searching the Internet If you have am I pad, keep it charged Except for this, Richardson s is an astonishing addition to any painter s library.
Style after style, after style, after style original b boy When it comes to style masters of the time and as someone who always votes for the innovator rather than the person seeking the limelight I m of a Matisse fan, but that s about his thinking than his art always had Picasso in awe and chasing On the other hand, Picasso s Guitar has always been among my all time favorite sculptures And the thought of each women he had in his life changing his art is certainly one that resonates w me This will be the book I read when I m not reading the book I m reading.