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Picasso (Dover Fine Art, History of Art) Paperback – September 1, 1984

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Fine Art, History of Art
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (September 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486247155
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486247151
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #364,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

For more than a generation, Gertrude Stein's Paris home at 27 rue de Fleurus was the center of a glittering coterie of artists and writers, one of whom was Pablo Picasso. In this intimate and revealing memoir, Stein tells us much about the great man (and herself) and offers many insights into the life and art of the 20th century's greatest painter.
Mixing biological fact with artistic and aesthetic comments, she limns a unique portrait of Picasso as a founder of Cubism, an intimate of Appollinaire, Max Jacob, Braque, Derain, and others, and a genius driven by a ceaseless quest to convey his vision of the 20th century. We learn, for example, of the importance of his native Spain in shaping Picasso's approach to art; of the influence of calligraphy and African sculpture; of his profound struggle to remain true to his own vision; of the overriding need to empty himself of the forms and ideas that welled up within him.
Stein's close relationship with Picasso furnishes her with a unique vantage point in composing this perceptive and provocative reminiscence. It will delight any admirer of Picasso or Gertrude Stein; it is indispensable to an understanding of modern art.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Loren D. Morrison on July 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
As has been written elsewhere (Try Hemingway's A MOVEABLE FEAST, for instance) Gertrude Stein possessed a tremendous ego. She did not express opinions, she stated facts even when the basis for her facts existed only in her head. She also had the irksome habit of repeating the same information many times, often approaching it from slightly different directions. Again, I am certainly not the first to comment on this peculiarity of her writing. That this book is filled with examples of both of the above does not take away from its excellence in revealing much about Picasso and his art.
Stein's fame comes more from her position in the intellectual and artistic community of early to mid twentieth century Paris than from her ability as a writer or poet. It was because of this position that she came to know Picasso so well, and it was as an outgrowth of this personal relationship that this book came to be written.
One area that I found very informative in PICASSO was Stein's analysis of the alternating influences of Picasso's Spanish soul, Paris, and Spain itself, on the various periods of Picasso's artistic development. In this respect, Stein contrasts Spain and France in the following manner: Spain was a sad country with a monotony of coloring while France was the country of Toulouse-Lautrec with vivid colors and images.
With that as a background, she introduced Picasso, as a young man in Spain, painting realistic works in the late nineteenth century manner. This was followed by his first visit to Paris during which he was influenced by the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec. (See illustration #3, "In the Cafe") He then returned to Spain in 1902, staying until 1904.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By C. Ebeling on February 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
In this epochal gem originally published in London in 1938, Gertrude Stein tells of the arrival and rise of Picasso, and through him, Modernism and the 20th century, filtered through her own performance art. By "filtered" I am not suggesting that it is fiction or distorts its subject; in fact, it's a live action postcard from the epicenter of the man and movement. Not only does it inform with fact, it informs with form.
Stein says with characteristic self assurance that she alone understood Picasso and compared what he did in art to what she did with words, and there is merit in the comparison. Picasso, influenced by the Spaniards, came to believe that truth existed in the conceptual realm, it did not come from the material world. Whereas proceeding generations accepted what they saw before them as truth and responded realistically, Picasso chose to portray his inner vision on canvas and backed away from using models. Cubism became his way of signifying how he experienced the significance of the still life or human form. A person, a tableau was not perceived as the whole but as parts, some of them standing out more prominently than others. Similarly, Stein orders her information according to emphasis, with her characteristic tic of repetition--remember, this is the person who gave us lines like "A rose is a rose is a rose" and "there is no there, there."
Stein does not overindulge herself, however, and imparts a generous amount of lucid thought on how Picasso created and from what and whom he drew his influences. She progresses chronologically through his periods-the blue, the rose, the harlequin, Cubist, calligraphic, etc., up to the point she was writing. This plus salient insights into society, war, creative artists and the 20th century in general make the volume quite a deal in a small package.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Wescott on May 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Gertrude Stein's fifty-odd page remembrance of Pablo Picasso is brief in page length only. Her convolved writing style challenges the reader to think within the context of Picasso's own creative processes. This is not a quick read, but I was struck by how Stein had her finger on the pulse of Picasso's drive and desire in painting. Her scope is concerned with the Red and Blue Periods and the start of Picasso's role in the invention of Cubism. As much of a literary challenge as it is a close reading of several important Picasso paintings, including Stein's own famous portrait.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steve in San Francisco on March 22, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been reading Richardson's Picasso biography, and he refers so frequently to the Steins that I had to buy this book. I found it absolutely charming, witty, and typical Gertrude Stein. Her prose runs in circles, and she's consistently self-focused. She views herself as a pioneering art doyenne and one of the few who truly understood the art movements in Paris in the early part of the 20th century. But her affection for Picasso is undeniable, and that's what makes this book so wonderful to read.

Picasso often felt that Gertrude in fact did *not* get what was going on with cubism and his and Braque's works. But she liked to have artistic company, Picasso liked that she bought so much of his work, so their relationship worked.

This is a quick book to read - contrary to what another review suggests - and makes for a wonderful Saturday afternoon. It helps if you know something of Picasso's history, so read this with a collection of his work on the side.
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