Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man: An Interpretive Biography Hardcover – October 1, 1995
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Although Mailer relies heavily on previous Picasso biographies and memoirs, from which he quotes extensively, this inspired, lavishly illustrated biography offers an uncanny psychological portrait of Picasso's inner development as man and artist. Commenting on 250 black-and-white and 55 color reproductions woven throughout the text, the prolific author presents Picasso as a painter who was wholly derivative until his Blue Period, and who then harnessed his inner terrors, his dread of mental and physical destruction, as a stimulus to his work. Mailer considers Cubism, and Picasso's related discoveries between 1907 and 1917, as his creative peak, from which he would beat a retreat by the late 1920s. This elegantly written portrait, which makes Picasso's erotic drawings and paintings an integral part of the story, mixes shrewd insights, wild psychosexual speculations, anecdotes and telling incidents. The narrative, which closes on the eve of WWI, pays special attention to Picasso's relationships with his mistress, Fernande Olivier (whose untranslated memoirs, written in her 70s, Mailer excerpts in chunks); and with Gertrude Stein, Guillaume Apollinaire and Picasso's sexually impotent friend, aesthete Carlos Casagemas, who committed suicide in 1901, dejected over unrequited love for a model.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Not just another book about Picasso or another book by Mailer but a book about Picasso by Mailer-worth a look at least. Alas, the end result of a work germinating since 1962 appears to be more a portrait of Picasso as a young Mailer than an examination of the innovative and enigmatic artist. The relationship of Picasso and Fernande Olivier is seen by Mailer as the definitive impetus of the artist's early period of incredible productivity and imagery. By quoting at great length from Olivier and Picasso's contemporaries Apollinaire and Gertrude Stein, Mailer offers a guide through what he sees as the crucial relationships and friendships of the period. The interpretive biography-claiming "no original scholarship"-may have its own virtues, but here little is added to the literature of art history, and the perspective, so filtered through the sensibility of the author, must be weighed as just that. "No man ever loved and hated women more"-Picasso or Mailer.
--Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum of Art Lib., New York
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
“His personal life during this period is not nearly so hopeless as the tone of his work, and is replete, as always, with contradictions. Art, even at the most demanding level, can on occasion free an artist of an obsession.Obviously his own mind was not always as stygian as his canvases down in the depths of the Blue. During the same season, he can offer us a pen-and-watercolor (reproduced in tMailer’s book) that is high-style in its smudges, and fine and hellish in its humor. There is menstrual blood in the bidet, and the whore is contemplating it with the same low-key woe that a musician might bestow upon a guitar that has just snapped a string.”
Mailer immediately follows that with this: “But let us not speak prematurely of all the guitars to come.”
A chapter on the narcissism of Picasso and his early lover Fernande Olivier closes with this: “If this has seemed a diversion, let us recognize we are soon going to be immersed in a full company of narcissists. Some royal examples are in the wings.”
The following chapter then begins with this: “During the winter of 1904-1905, when Picasso was still wooing Fernande, another domain was opening. His friendship with Guillaume Appolinaire commenced. Then a few months after Fernande moved into his studio, Leo and Gertrude Stein entered his life. The long friendship between Picasso and Gertrude came alive. We will need our wits if we are to follow it. When it comes to narcissism, Gertrude Stein is equal to Catherine of Russia.”
“It is never routine to feel like a snob and a bohemian at the same time, but then back in Barcelona during the Blue Period, Picasso and his friend de Soto wanted to look well turned out but had only one pair of gloves between them.
“They used to share it, keeping one bare hand in a pocket and gesturing ostentatiously with the gloved one. I remember Picasso telling me how elegant he felt, dressed in a green suit which he passionately admired, and his single glove.)
In the last paragraph above, Mailer is quoting from Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. Numerous critics have complained about the quantity of borrowed material in the book, but Mailer is forthright about this, and I don’t see it as a problem, (Much of what is borrowed from French originals is in Mailer’s own translation.)
So the book is an enjoyable read, even though it has to be said that, on the whole, it comes off as an unedited first draft cobbled together to fulfill a contract.
Most recent customer reviews
I am re-reading this after a couple of years and I am remembering why I enjoyed it so much.Read more