With an introduction by Arthur C. Danto.
This book provides a fresh, engaging view into Picasso's life and art. Mary Ann Caws describes the artist's life thematically and chronologically, and also takes as focal points Picasso's relationships with his close friends as they changed over the years.
Pablo Picasso invokes central places and characters in various periods of the artist's long and active life: in Barcelona; his time at the Bâteau-Lavoir in Paris; his work and life in Provence; his friendships with Gertrude Stein, Max Jacob, Apollinaire and Pierre Reverdy, Jean Cocteau, Breton and the surrealists, and later Dalí, Eluard, and critic Roland Penrose. It traces his relationships with partners Dora Maar, Françoise Gilot and Jacqueline Roque. Caws provides biographical context to the artist's work, focusing on the time around Les Demoiselles d'Avignon and then Guernica, as well as the changes and consistencies in his oeuvre over the twentieth century.
Throughout, the author examines Picasso's juggling of viewpoints, artistic strategies, loves and friends, which she interprets as part of the expansion of the artist's genius and personality, represented by the figures of the Harlequin, the clown and the acrobat.
This book is a concise and lively study of the enormously productive and varied life and art of one of the twentieth century's most influential artistic figures.
‘. . . a useful guide, although it does not shy away from difficulty and complication . . . It also casts an oddly angled new light on Picasso’s work. A fascinating volume.’ – The Art Newspaper
‘This penetrating study shows how Picasso’s intense juggling of “objects and loves and styles” created an art that carries “a perfect if strange coherence”’. – The Weekend Australian
Mary Ann Caws is Distinguished Professor of English, French and Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has written many books on art and literature including Picasso's Weeping Woman: The Life and Art of Dora Maar (2000), Virginia Woolf: Illustrated Life (2002), Marcel Proust: Illustrated Life (2003) and Robert Motherwell with Pen and Brush (Reaktion, 2003).