Picasso: painting against time
Werner Spies, Georg Baselitz, Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (Germany)
Hatje Cantz, 2007 - Art - 304 pages
No other painter has had a more lasting influence on twentieth-century art than Pablo Picasso. Among the many phases and styles encompassed by his oeuvre, Picasso's late period--which he spent in Mougins, in the South of France, until his death in 1973--has a very special position. For the highly charged paintings that Picasso made during the last decade of his life, often featuring close-ups of the kiss or copulation, seem to cling with all their might to the artist's intense sensuality, his desire for embrace. They are marked by a great restlessness whose aim must be to exorcise death itself. "Wild" paintings rapidly executed by Picasso's masterly hand, the late canvases stand in marked contrast to the artist's detailed, carefully executed drawings of the same period, which are dominated by a unique joy in narrative. This substantial new volume, edited by Werner Spies, former director of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the most important Picasso expert of our day, examines almost 200 works, including paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures, shedding light on the specific methods and dialectics in Picasso's later work. In particular, the sense of the artist's race against time is made clear through the exciting dialogue that emerges here between painting and drawing. As Picasso himself said, "The works that one paints are a way of keeping a diary."
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