21 Citations on Pablo Picasso — David Markson

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Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, oil on canvas, 1907 (MoMA)

Painting is not done to decorate apartments –PICASSO

People speak of naturalism in opposition to modern painting.
Where and when has anyone ever seen a natural work of art?
Asked Picasso.

Depressed at the apparent lack of interest in one of his early still lifes, Matisse visited his dealer to retrieve it, only to learn that it had been purchased after all.
By Picasso.

The interrelationship of Picasso and Braque during Cubism:
Like being roped together on a mountain, Braque said.

The oddity that Velazquez and Picasso, surely two of the three greatest Spanish-born painters, each used his mother’s name rather than his father’s.

Among the many paintings in her Paris flat, Gertrude Stein had two exceptional Picassos.
If there were a fire, and I could save only one picture, it would be those two. Unquote.

The Bateau-Lavoir, the legendary former Montmartre piano factory broken up into artists’ studios, where Picasso contrived any number of his early masterpieces — while living with no running water and only one communal toilet.

The so-called anarchist artist who in 1988 smeared a large X in his own blood on a wall in the Museum of Modern Art — and in the process splattered an adjacent Picasso.

Picasso. Cézanne. Matisse. Braque. Bonnard. Renoir.
All of whom painted portraits of Ambroise Vollard.

Cartier-Bresson. Brassaï. Man Ray. Lee Miller. Robert Doisneau. Robert Capa. David Douglas Duncan. Cecil Beaton.
All of whom photographed Picasso.

Picasso’s play, Desire Caught by the Tail — which could be performed for the first time only privately, because of the Nazi occupation of Paris.
But avec Camus, Sartre, Michel Leiris, Raymond Queneau, Dora Maar, Pierre Reverdy, Simone de Beauvoir.

There is no such thing as abstract art, said Picasso.
You always have to start somewhere or other.

Gertrude Stein once delighted Picasso by reporting that a collector had been dumbfounded, years afterward, to hear that Picasso had given her her portrait as a gift, rather than asking payment.
Not understanding that that early in Picasso’s career, the difference had been next to negligible.

You never paint the Parthenon; you never paint a Louis XV armchair. You make pictures out of some little house in the Midi, a packet of tobacco, or an old chair.
Said Picasso.

Future generations will regard Bob Dylan with the awe reserved for Blake, Whitman, Picasso and the like.
Said an otherwise seemingly rational writer named Jonathan Lethem.

Picasso, avec laughter, after being asked if he had used models for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon:
Where would I have found them?

Picasso’s admiration for Charlie Chaplin.
Diego Rivera’s.
Stalin’s.

Kees van Dongen’s admission that there were occasions during his own early Montmartre years when he was forced to filch milk and/or bread from neighborhood doorsteps — with an accomplice named Picasso.

Picasso, in Paris during the Nazi occupation and learning that someone had accused him of having Jewish blood:
I wish I had.

A rejection of all that civilization has done.
Said the London Times of a first Post-Impressionist exhibition, in 1910 — which included Cézanne, van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, others.

My old paintings no longer interest me. I’m much more curious about those I haven’t done yet.
Said Picasso, at seventy-nine.

From David Markson’s The Last Novel

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5 thoughts on “21 Citations on Pablo Picasso — David Markson

    1. I am all for tenuous connections and I am all for Mr. Jonathan Richman, who I was lucky enough to see perform years and years ago in a small cafe.

      Pablo Picasso though, I’m sure, must have been called an asshole at some point.

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  1. If you’re interested in Picasso but haven’t seen ‘The Mystery of Picasso’ — in which he creates a number of improvisational paintings on a translucent canvas, or something like that, and also plies his Picassoness a bit — I recommend it. Brassai’s text ‘Conversations with Picasso’ is also excellent, and Parmelin’s memoir ‘Picasso Plain’ has been said to be especially accurate concerning the man, although I can’t recollect why in particular.

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