Viva Picasso: Centennial Celebration 1881-1981

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Viking Press, 1980 - Art - 152 pages
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A celebratory collection of over one hundred of the finest photographs ever taken of Picasso at work and play evokes the extraordinary vitality and creative, emotional depth of this great artist

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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


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About the author (1980)

David Douglas Duncan, born in 1916 in Kansas City, Mo., is a well-known photojournalist whose works include This is War! A Photo-Narrative in Three Parts. Duncan's interest in photography began while he was attending the University of Arizona and continued when he transferred to the University of Miami in Florida. After graduation, he became a freelance photographer and eventually sold some pictures to National Geographic. Duncan became a staff photographer for Life magazine after World War II and it was his coverage of the Korean War that led to his first publication, This is War! Duncan and the artist Pablo Picasso became friends in the 1950s, and Picasso was the subject for some of Duncan's finest and best-known work, including The Private World of Pablo Picasso, Picasso's Picassos, Goodbye Picasso, Viva Picasso: A Centennial Celebration, 1881-1981, and Picasso and Jacqueline. He returned to the photography of war during the Vietnam War that he covered, again, for Life. Duncan also wrote about the protest movement and other political events in the 1960s. His book, Self-Portrait: U.S.A., published in 1969 covered the Democratic and Republican Conventions of 1968.

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