"You can paint with whatever you like, with pipes, postage stamps, postcards or playing cards, candlesticks, pieces of oil-cloth, detachable collars, wallpaper, newspapers ..." This list drawn up by poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire in his aesthetic meditations on cubist painters included almost every component of Pablo Picasso's great invention of cubism. Yet anarchy was absent from this period of the master's career despite its revolutionary impact, as demonstrated by the major retrospective conceived by the Musee National Picasso in Paris in a homage to Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, the venerable yet still potent masterpiece that celebrated its centennial in 2007.
Based on a selection of outstanding artworks, this exhibition catalogue presents an assessment of this period of radical painterly innovation and offers an international overview of recent research on the subject. The texts not only elucidate the main developmental and stylistic stages of a creative explosion that spanned the first two decades of the century (1906-24), they also shed light on the wealth and coherence of Picasso's oeuvre down through the years.
This seminal work combines quality reproductions with critical essays by the world's leading authorities on Picasso and cubism: Anne Baldassari, Pierre Daix, Pepe Karmel, Irving Lavin, Jean-Claude Lebensztejn, and Leo Steinberg.
Anne Baldassari, Director of the Musee Picasso in Paris, is the author of many books published by Flammarion, including Picasso and Photography (1997), The Surrealist Picasso (2005), Bacon–Picasso (2005), and Picasso: Life with Dora Maar (2006). Pierre Daix is France’s foremost specialist on Cubism. Journalist, writer, and friend of Picasso, he has written several books on the subject. Pepe Karmel is Professor of Art History at New York University. He is author of Picasso and the Invention of Cubism (2003). Irving Lavin is a professor at the School of Historical Studies at Princeton. He is one of America’s most eminent art historians and author of the definitive work Past-Present: Essays on Historicism in Art from Donatello to Picasso (1993). Jean-Claude Lebensztejn was a professor of Art History at the University of Paris Sorbonne, the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard. Leo Steinberg is a Emeritus Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion (University of Chicago Press, 1997).