Picasso - A Biography - John Richardson (3 volumes)

Picasso - A Biography -  John Richardson  (two volumes of three) - What more do we need to know about Picasso?  Picasso did not evolve from Cubism to his neo-classicism because he was an inveterate explorer who had exhausted the Cubist vein and had to discover a new avenue.  He abandoned Cubism so save his ass during World War One.  There developed a wartime fever to obliterate all things German from French life.  Picasso’s primary art dealer during his Cubist years was the German Kahnweiler and some German signs were spotted in a painting or two.  Picasso had gotten in trouble with the law in his Louvre theft association with the thief and was questioned by police.  He lived in fear of deportation.  Cubism rocked the boat.  Let’s dial back until the smoke clears into this sensuous proto-classical riff. He was Gertrude Stein’s little lap dog.  The whole Picasso as macho bull, towering this and that was a reaction to being such a squirt during the first years of his Paris career.  If Picasso died just prior to the start of World War One he would still be the second greatest painter of the twentieth century.  Matisse, of course, being the century’s towering precursor to all who followed.  Fauvism and Cubism were the Supreme court and Matisse as chief justice gets the nod as the main man due not only to his date of entry in the service of modernism but to the depth and breadth of his ideas.  We must as a people throw  the blinders from our eyes that resulted from Gertrude Stein’s wretched propagation of Matisse’s casual remark about the intention of his work being to relax.  He may have wished to relax after a decade of artistic conflict but the remark should not color his work up to that point.