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A Life Of Picasso: The Minotaur Years: 1933-1943

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The spectacular fourth volume of Picasso's life set in Paris, Normandy, and Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War and WWII. Based on original and exhaustive research from interviews and never-before-seen material in the Picasso family archives, Volume IV describes a wildly productive decade for Picasso: his ongoing involvement with the surrealists Man Ray, Dali, Paul Eluar The spectacular fourth volume of Picasso's life set in Paris, Normandy, and Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War and WWII. Based on original and exhaustive research from interviews and never-before-seen material in the Picasso family archives, Volume IV describes a wildly productive decade for Picasso: his ongoing involvement with the surrealists Man Ray, Dali, Paul Eluard and Andr� Breton on his Skira-backed magazine Minotaur; summers spent in the south of France at Juan-les-Pins and Mougins with the surrealists and their wives and girlfriends; the making of Minotauromachie; living in Nazi-occupied Paris, labeled a degenerate, prevented from exhibiting his work. During these years, Picasso, at long last, would legally separate from his wife Olga and their son Paulo would be sent to a Swiss clinic for therapy and rehab; Marie-Th�r�se would remain Picasso's mistress, but a stormy relationship with the photographer Dora Maar would be part of the mix, while Alice Paalen and Valentine Hugo would come and go. It is also the time in which Picasso would paint his masterwork, Guernica, unveiled at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris. Richardson tells Picasso's story through the art of this period, analyzing how it reflects the tenor of the artist's day-to-day life. The fascinating, accessible narrative immerses the reader in one of the most exciting artistic moments in twentieth century cultural history, and makes a groundbreaking contribution to the scholarship of the field.


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The spectacular fourth volume of Picasso's life set in Paris, Normandy, and Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War and WWII. Based on original and exhaustive research from interviews and never-before-seen material in the Picasso family archives, Volume IV describes a wildly productive decade for Picasso: his ongoing involvement with the surrealists Man Ray, Dali, Paul Eluar The spectacular fourth volume of Picasso's life set in Paris, Normandy, and Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War and WWII. Based on original and exhaustive research from interviews and never-before-seen material in the Picasso family archives, Volume IV describes a wildly productive decade for Picasso: his ongoing involvement with the surrealists Man Ray, Dali, Paul Eluard and Andr� Breton on his Skira-backed magazine Minotaur; summers spent in the south of France at Juan-les-Pins and Mougins with the surrealists and their wives and girlfriends; the making of Minotauromachie; living in Nazi-occupied Paris, labeled a degenerate, prevented from exhibiting his work. During these years, Picasso, at long last, would legally separate from his wife Olga and their son Paulo would be sent to a Swiss clinic for therapy and rehab; Marie-Th�r�se would remain Picasso's mistress, but a stormy relationship with the photographer Dora Maar would be part of the mix, while Alice Paalen and Valentine Hugo would come and go. It is also the time in which Picasso would paint his masterwork, Guernica, unveiled at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris. Richardson tells Picasso's story through the art of this period, analyzing how it reflects the tenor of the artist's day-to-day life. The fascinating, accessible narrative immerses the reader in one of the most exciting artistic moments in twentieth century cultural history, and makes a groundbreaking contribution to the scholarship of the field.

50 review for A Life Of Picasso: The Minotaur Years: 1933-1943

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sam Gilbert

    Richardson’s unfinished life of Picasso shines a bright, loving, Mithraic light on the twentieth century’s most restless, brilliant, mischievous, metamorphic artist. One comes to love and execrate the painter as he runs through styles, women, historical turning points, all the while without blinking those huge, penetrating, retentive, scornful eyes. The fourth volume falls a bit short. Richardson’s evaluation of Picasso’s poetry, which he lauds as more avant-garde than Stein’s writing, fails to Richardson’s unfinished life of Picasso shines a bright, loving, Mithraic light on the twentieth century’s most restless, brilliant, mischievous, metamorphic artist. One comes to love and execrate the painter as he runs through styles, women, historical turning points, all the while without blinking those huge, penetrating, retentive, scornful eyes. The fourth volume falls a bit short. Richardson’s evaluation of Picasso’s poetry, which he lauds as more avant-garde than Stein’s writing, fails to convince. His reasoning sometimes falls into paradox. And the repetitions (see his comments on Dora Maar’s “Père Ubu” photograph) can be wearying. But as always he brilliantly weaves the artist’s Dionysiac temper into his times, exposes difficult truths (see him on PP’s treatment of his mother, of Olga, of Dora) while insisting on Picasso’s resolute loyalty to male friends. I found Richardson excellent on the content of the art, but often blind to formal aspects that, while they must be secondary to a biographer, deserved fuller treatment. And, as too often in art history, connections hypothesized between the art and the work of earlier artsists did not convince. Occam rules.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    My husband gave me "A Life of Picasso: The Minotaur Years 1933-42" for my birthday, the fourth volume in the comprehensive set by John Richardson that was clearly meant to go one more book. Richardson died in 2019 and the manuscript was completed and polished by Ross Finocchio and Delphine Huisinga. You can hear it in the text. The bombastic, "I am always right" tone of the first three volumes is quieted. The voice is more third person than personal narrative. The prose reads smoothly and, in fa My husband gave me "A Life of Picasso: The Minotaur Years 1933-42" for my birthday, the fourth volume in the comprehensive set by John Richardson that was clearly meant to go one more book. Richardson died in 2019 and the manuscript was completed and polished by Ross Finocchio and Delphine Huisinga. You can hear it in the text. The bombastic, "I am always right" tone of the first three volumes is quieted. The voice is more third person than personal narrative. The prose reads smoothly and, in fact, this volume was a comparatively speedy read. And a truly excellent one. A better one, in fact, than its three predecessors. Picasso's later work, certainly from 1930 to his death in 1973, is some of the most maligned by critics and difficult to teach in the classroom. What style might you call it? Is Picasso truly a Surrealist? Has he only become a parody of his youthful self? Certainly many have regarded everything that followed his work of the early 1920s as being of little interest. Yet this period, largely ignored in modern art history classes because we are too busy looking at Surrealism and the emergence of Abstract Expressionism in New York City, is little traveled territory. I have my own thoughts about the extent to which Picasso was a Surrealist or whether there is true creative vitality in this period (no to the former, yes to the latter) but I confess not not having organized my thoughts into any useful order. The fact that in the previous months I had read the first volume of William Feaver's weighty opus (see review on my page) and the biography of Francis Bacon by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swann (see review also on my page) and I have been thinking about the nature of modern art in Europe in the period between the wars. "The Minotaur Years" is a wonderful addition to the bibliography. It is a well organized books, with excellent illustrations, both in black-and-white throughout the text and color plates in the center. IMO, one needn't bone up on early Picasso in order to enjoy this book. It helps to know a little something, certainly, but it isn't necessary. A very nice start to the year.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Randy Lowe

    This was the shortest, and breeziest of the 4 volumes, and very clearly reflected the fact that Richardson, in his 90's, ran out of time. And possibly lost a bit of his art-historical edge as well. Its about half the size of the previous books, and never pauses its brisk pacing long enough to dig into any of the monumental developments that clearly rocked Picasso during the leadup to WW2 and his survival throughout in a hostile Vichy France. Marie Therese is ever present, but only in a sketchy, This was the shortest, and breeziest of the 4 volumes, and very clearly reflected the fact that Richardson, in his 90's, ran out of time. And possibly lost a bit of his art-historical edge as well. Its about half the size of the previous books, and never pauses its brisk pacing long enough to dig into any of the monumental developments that clearly rocked Picasso during the leadup to WW2 and his survival throughout in a hostile Vichy France. Marie Therese is ever present, but only in a sketchy, phantom-like way, and then she disappears without really any explanation. I could go on with examples like this, but in short, the book, for me, is a documentation of gaps and a framework for what could have been. It's certainly not bad or uninformative, and I am so happy that the notes or drafts that he left have been so nicely edited together and polished into a structure that is so readable... pleasantly readable. But we know that the details of Picasso's life and work during these 'Minotaur Years' was anything but pleasant or neatly summarized. But what a monumental achievement the 4 volumes are as a whole. Just fantastic.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Riet

    Dit is het laatste deel in deze serie over ht leven van Picasso, omdat de schrijver in 2019 is overleden. Dit is dan zijn vierde boek, handelend over de z.g. Minotaurperiode, van 1933 tot 1942. Net als de eerste drie boeken goed geschreven en heel informatief. en gelukkig ook veel illustraties. De persoon Picasso is niet bepaald sympathiek, ook weer in dit boek, maar zijn werk is prachtig. Dat laatste zeker na alle duiding door Richardson. Het heet de Minotaur jaren, omdathet beeld van de Minota Dit is het laatste deel in deze serie over ht leven van Picasso, omdat de schrijver in 2019 is overleden. Dit is dan zijn vierde boek, handelend over de z.g. Minotaurperiode, van 1933 tot 1942. Net als de eerste drie boeken goed geschreven en heel informatief. en gelukkig ook veel illustraties. De persoon Picasso is niet bepaald sympathiek, ook weer in dit boek, maar zijn werk is prachtig. Dat laatste zeker na alle duiding door Richardson. Het heet de Minotaur jaren, omdathet beeld van de Minotaur met een zekere regelmaat terugkomt in Picasso's werk van deze periode. Het belangrijkste is natuurlijk het tot stand komen van Guernica. Verder natuurlijk veel over de Spaanse Burgeroorlog en het begin van de 2de wereldoorlog in Frankrijk.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mejix

    John Richardson is always very enjoyable company. Knowleadgeable but also very down to earth, very humane. This last installment was a little bit undercooked at times. As I recall Richardson never intended to follow Picasso's complete life span but the book never explains why it stopped at 1943. What an accomplishment these 4 volumes are though. Bittersweet to finish this book but what an experience to follow this series since the 90's. John Richardson is always very enjoyable company. Knowleadgeable but also very down to earth, very humane. This last installment was a little bit undercooked at times. As I recall Richardson never intended to follow Picasso's complete life span but the book never explains why it stopped at 1943. What an accomplishment these 4 volumes are though. Bittersweet to finish this book but what an experience to follow this series since the 90's.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Barry Smirnoff

    Picasso biography during his political awakening 1933-43 This is Volume 4 of Richardson’s biography. Integrates his life and work into a solid narrative. Guernica, the Spanish Civil War, and the German occupation of Paris. An interesting view of life’s impact on his work.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Colin

  8. 5 out of 5

    WILLIAM MAHONEY

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joel

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alex Johnson

  11. 5 out of 5

    Saladinho

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jim French

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sristi Gupta

  14. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  15. 5 out of 5

    Zamora GI

  16. 4 out of 5

    M

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nacho Lord

  19. 5 out of 5

    Towhid Elahi

  20. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Murdock

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cody Mein

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brent

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tessa M

  24. 4 out of 5

    Vedran Nurkić

  25. 5 out of 5

    Serena

  26. 4 out of 5

    Richard Channin

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katie-Elyse

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tibbe

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cody

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emrys

  31. 5 out of 5

    Angela Karnes

  32. 4 out of 5

    Blue And Grey

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    R D

  34. 4 out of 5

    Ingrid

  35. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel K

  36. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  37. 5 out of 5

    Eli Sturgeon

  38. 4 out of 5

    Donna

  39. 5 out of 5

    Haruki

  40. 4 out of 5

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  42. 4 out of 5

    Ellery

  43. 4 out of 5

    Scarlet Lammers

  44. 4 out of 5

    Hanno Botha

  45. 4 out of 5

    Mikey Bannon

  46. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

  47. 4 out of 5

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  48. 5 out of 5

    Helen

  49. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Lumsden

  50. 4 out of 5

    Dean

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