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Picasso (Dover Fine Art, History of Art) Paperback – September 1, 1984
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So, the singular view of an artist not of anybody else, alone in the studio will never be duplicated, copied or understood and is the truest lasting image.Published 11 months ago by Mike Dodge
I am writing to say that I placed a digital order. The ebook was not delivered to my tablet and I can not find a way to contact anyone at Amazon!Published 23 months ago by Barbara Ferguson
It's a magnificent report on the life and works of a "first class genius", till the end of the '30s. An unforgettable classic in history of contemporary art. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Diego Quaglioni
It's not as good as i thought it would be in regards to Picasso's history but insightful for the Hypocrisy of Gertrude Stein; nonetheless it was a good read for Fans of Gertrude... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Daniel
I wish the information were in more detail......That may change as I read further....Gertrude was a most interesting person and her tourbillon get- to-gathers were sometimes tops.Published on May 14, 2014 by Patrick McGriff
I read this to the end just to be certain it was truly as awful as it seemed. Stein's writing here seems to be stream of conscience. Read morePublished on May 7, 2014 by MICHAEL COAKES
I could not believe the poor writing, style, ridiculous repetition of the same poor or unfunded ideas. Read morePublished on January 1, 2014 by Claudiu Popescu
I love Stein's direct, no nonsense writing style. She provides an insider's perspective of the scene and an affectionate yet unsentimental account of Picasso's emergence into... Read morePublished on September 3, 2013 by Michael McClard