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I doubt if any other photographer had access to Picasso's day-to-day life in the same way that David Douglas Duncan did for over seventeen years. Duncan is a prominent American photojournalist known in part for his combat photography as well as his eight books of photos of Picasso. Douglas met the great artist in 1956 and spent considerable time in his home up until Picasso's death in 1973.
This book has dozens of intriguing photos, primarily black and white taken in natural light, without a flash to avoid disturbing the subjects. Most of the pictures of people are candid. Each photo has an explanatory note; the notes are compiled into a section at the back of the book. I went through the book once, simply enjoying the photos without any text to distract me. Then I went through it again reading each note and carefully examining the photo. What an evening of entertainment !
We are given voyeuristic glimpses into Picasso's life; most of the shots are taken inside his home where the rooms, not only his studio, are filled with his art. Many shots feature Picasso's last love,
Jacqueline Roque and their various pets such as the goat and Lump, the daschund. We see Picasso at work and can observe his intensity, the long hours and his prolific output. The photographs, together with the notes, convey the routine of life for a happy man with a bright character, a man who knew himself well and lived the way he wanted to live.
Duncn's notes reveal interesting tidbits about his impressions and experiences with the artist.I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Picasso and wants to get to know the man better.
Purchased used for $15 Canadian at MacLeods Books, 455 West Pender, Vancouver BC.
See the David Douglas Duncan Archive at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin