Skip to Main Content (Press Enter) Toggle side nav

A Life of Picasso Series

John Richardson
A Life of Picasso IV: The Minotaur Years by John Richardson
Latest in the Series

A Life of Picasso IV: The Minotaur Years

Book 4
Hardcover $40

A Life of Picasso Series : Titles in Order

Book 4
The beautifully illustrated fourth volume of Picasso’s life—set in France and Spain during the Spanish Civil War and World War II—covers friendships with the surrealist painters; artistic inspiration around Guernica and the Minotaur; and his muses Marie-Thérèse, Dora Maar, and Françoise Gilot; and much more.

Including 271 stunning illustrations and drawing on original and exhaustive research from interviews and never-before-seen material in the Picasso family archives, this book opens with a visit by the Hungarian-French photographer Brassaï to Picasso’s chateau in Normandy, Boisgeloup, where he would take his iconic photographs of the celebrated plaster busts of Marie-Thérèse, Picasso’s mistress and muse. Picasso was contributing to André Breton’s Minotaur magazine and he was also spending more time with the likes of Man Ray, Salvador Dalí, Lee Miller, and the poet Paul Éluard, in Paris as well as in the south of France. It was during this time that Picasso began writing surrealist poetry and became obsessed with the image of himself as the mythic Minotaur—head of a bull, body of a man—and created his most famous etching, Minotauromachie.
 
Richardson shows us the artist is as prolific as ever, painting Marie-Thérèse, but also painting the surrealist photographer Dora Maar who has become a muse, a collaborator and more. In April 1937, the bombing of the town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War inspires Picasso’s vast masterwork of the same name, which he paints in just a few weeks for the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris World’s Fair. When the Nazis occupy Paris in 1940, Picasso chooses to remain in the city despite the threat that his art would be confiscated. In 1943, Picasso meets Françoise Gilot who would replace Dora, and as Richardson writes, “rejuvenate his psyche, reawaken his imagery and inspire a brilliant sequence of paintings.” As always, Richardson tells Picasso’s story through his work during this period, analyzing how it shows what the artist was feeling and thinking. His fascinating and accessible narrative immerses us in one of the most exciting moments in twentieth century cultural history, and brings to a close the definitive and critically acclaimed account of one of the world’s most celebrated artists.
Book 3
The third volume of Richardson’s magisterial Life of Picasso, a groundbreaking contribution to our understanding of one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century.

Here is Picasso at the height of his powers in Rome and Naples, producing the sets and costumes with Cocteau for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, and visiting Pompei where the antique statuary fuel his obsession with classicism; in Paris, creating some of his most important sculpture and painting as part of a group that included Braque, Apollinaire, Miró, and Breton; spending summers in the South of France in the company of Gerald and Sara Murphy, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald.

These are the years of his marriage to the Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova—the mother of his only legitimate child, Paulo—and of his passionate affair with Marie-Thérèse Walter, who was, as well, his model and muse.
Book 2
In the second volume of his Life of Picasso, Richardson reveals the young Picasso in the Baudelairean role of “the painter of modern life.” Never before have Picasso’s revolutionary vision, technical versatility, prodigious achievements, and, not least, his sardonic humor been analyzed with such clarity.

Hence his great breakthrough painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, with which this book opens. As well as portraying Picasso as a revolutionary, Richardson analyzes the more compassionate side of his genius. The misogynist of posthumous legend turns out to have been surprisingly vulnerable—more often sinned against than sinning. Heartbroken at the death of his mistress Eva, Picasso tried desperately to find a wife. Richardson recounts the untold story of how his two great loves of 1915–17 successively turned him down. These disappointments, as well as his horror at the outbreak of World War I and the wounds it inflicted on his closest friends, Braque and Apollinaire, shadowed his painting and drove him off to work for the Ballets Russes in Rome and Naples—back to the ancient world.

In this volume we see the artist’s life and work during the crucial decade of 1907–17, a period during which Picasso and Georges Braque devised what has come to be known as cubism and in doing so engendered modernism. Thanks to the author’s friendship with Picasso and some of the women in his life, as well as Braque and their dealer, D. H. Kahnweiler, and other associates, he has had access to untapped sources and unpublished material. In The Cubist Rebel, Richardson also introduces us to key figures in Picasso’s life who have been totally overlooked by previous biographers. Among these are the artist’s Chilean patron, collector, and mother figure, Eugenia Errázuriz, as well as two fiancées: the loveable Geneviève Laporte and the promiscuous bisexual painter Irène Lagut.

By harnessing biography to art history, he has managed to crack the code of cubism more successfully than any of his predecessors. And by bringing fresh light to bear on the artist’s private life, he has succeeded in coming up with a new view of this paradoxical man and of his paradoxical work. Never before have Picasso’s revolutionary vision, technical versatility, prodigious achievements, and, not least, his sardonic humor been analyzed with such clarity.
Book 1
From the foremost Picasso scholar, the first volume of his Life of Picasso draws on Richardson’s close friendship with Picasso, his own diaries, the collaboration of Picasso’s widow Jacqueline, and unprecedented access to Picasso’s studio and papers to arrive at a profound understanding of the artist and his work.

Combining meticulous scholarship with irresistible narrative appeal, this definitive biography of one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century details the years 1881-1906, from Picasso’s beginnings in Spain to age twenty-five in Paris. With more than 800 extraordinary black-and-white illustrations.
Back to Top