Brassaļ Conversations with Picasso

ISBN 13: 9780226071497

Conversations with Picasso

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9780226071497: Conversations with Picasso

"Read this book if you want to understand me."—Pablo Picasso

Conversations with Picasso offers a remarkable vision of both Picasso and the entire artistic and intellectual milieu of wartime Paris, a vision provided by the gifted photographer and prolific author who spent the early portion of the 1940s photographing Picasso's work. Brassaï carefully and affectionately records each of his meetings and appointments with the great artist, building along the way a work of remarkable depth, intimate perspective, and great importance to anyone who truly wishes to understand Picasso and his world.

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Review:

Henry Miller called Brassaï (born Gyula Halasz) "The Eye of Paris." As a photographer, journalist, and author of photographic monographs and literary criticism, he had an uncanny ability to capture the Paris art world of the mid-20th century. Conversations with Picasso, originally published in 1964, is a collection of Brassaï's memoirs, resurrected from scraps of paper he stored in a huge vase each night after his talks with the famous Spanish painter, whose work he photographed from 1932 to 1962. In keeping with the lively bohemian spirit that so characterized Pablo Picasso's milieu, Brassaï wrote these notes in a vivid, conversational style, and they are now vignettes, of a sort, from a theatrical time capsule. Presented alongside the actual photographs he took during his visits with Picasso, Brassaï's anecdotes of the artist and his most intimate associates paint an unforgettable portrait of Picasso the master artist and the man. Sly humor and telling details embellish these accounts--in one particularly well-rendered scene, Picasso throws a temper tantrum over a lost flashlight--that vividly depict many of the artist's creative revelations, his insatiable curiosity, and his views on the art of his time, including that of the surrealists. One very strong image depicts Picasso, with brush in hand, using a palette made of newspaper. Confiscated by military censors due to the mere presence of World War II headlines, this photo represents one of the many wartime frustrations Picasso endured, including using a bathroom for a studio and secretly casting sculptures in scarce bronze at night. Underneath the worshipful posturing so prevalent in writings of the time, in which an everyday shopping list of paint colors is hailed as a prose poem, Brassaï offers an intimate chronicle full of loving detail of the impossible yet delightful enfant terrible. Entertaining, charming, light but truly satisfying fare. --A.C. Smith

About the Author:

Brassaï (born Gyula Halász, 1899—1984) was a photographer, journalist, and author of photographic monographs and literary works, including Letters to My Parents and Proust in the Power of Photography, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

Jane Marie Todd is a translator whose books include Brassaï's Henry Miller, Happy Rock and Largesse by Jean Starobinski, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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