Jacket Image

Enlarge Image

200 × 130 × 11 mm
176 pages
30 illustrations
01 Jun 2005
Critical Lives

Pablo Picasso Mary Ann Caws

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 Picassos work. A fascinating volume.’ — The Art Newspaper

‘This penetrating study shows how Picassos intense juggling of objects and loves and styles created an art that carries a perfect if strange coherence.’ — The Weekend Australian

Show all

Mary Ann Caws is Distinguished Professor Emerita and Resident Professor of English, French and Comparative Literature at the Graduate School, City University of New York. She is the author of several books for Reaktion including Blaise Pascal: Miracles and Reason (2017), The Modern Art Cookbook (2013) and Salvador Dalí (2008).

1. Introduction
2. Picasso the Spaniard
3. Paris : the Bateau-Lavoir
4. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon and the beginnings of cubism
5. Poetic cubism
6. The ballets russes
7. Surrealism
8. Guernica and the party
9. The south of France
10. Conclusion