PUBLISHER
National Portrait Gallery

BOOK FORMAT
Hardcover, 9 x 11.25 in. / 256 pgs / 230 color.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: FALL 2016 p. 46   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9781855145429 TRADE
List Price: $39.95 CDN $53.95

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In stock

He’s unable to create an image of anything or anybody without being aware of the arbitrariness of the means. And impulsively ready to make these into something self-contained. Shapes answer shapes; lines interact with lines; never how you’d expect. Faces and bodies are in a constant state of delightful metamorphosis.

Matthew Collings

  

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

Picasso Portraits

By Elizabeth Cowling.

Picasso Portraits

Picasso's portraits are matched to his fluctuating social circles in this look at the maestro's evolution

From the beginning of his career until its end, Pablo Picasso’s prime subject was the human figure, and portraiture remained a favorite genre for the artist. Picasso’s portraiture reflected the full range of his innovative styles--Symbolist, Cubist, Neoclassical, Surrealist, Expressionist. Depicting people in his intimate circle rather than working to commission enabled Picasso to take an expressive, radically experimental approach to making portraits.

However extreme his departure from representational conventions, Picasso never wholly abandoned drawing from the sitter or ceased producing portraits of classic beauty and naturalism. He remained in constant dialogue with the art of the past, and his portraits often alluded to canonical masterpieces. Treating favorite Old Masters as indecorously as his intimate friends, he created suites of free “variations” after Velázquez’s “Las Meninas” and Rembrandt’s “The Prodigal Son.”

These dizzying stylistic shifts of Picasso’s long career can be traced through their manifestations in his portraits. Picasso Portraits tells this story thematically, with a focus on Picasso’s creative process rather than his biography. Issues addressed in depth in this volume include Picasso’s exploitation of familiar poses and formats, his sources of inspiration among the Old Masters and the relationship between observation, memory and fantasy.

The legendary life and career of Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) spanned nearly the entire 20th century and ushered in some of its most significant artistic revolutions. Hard to overestimate in importance or originality, Picasso’s style is perhaps best captured in the words of his friend Paul Éluard: “Picasso paints like God or the devil.”


Elizabeth Cowling is Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. Her publications include Picasso: Style and Meaning (2002) and Visiting Picasso: The Notebooks and Letters of Roland Penrose (2006). She has co-curated several exhibitions, including Picasso Sculptor/Painter (1994), Matisse Picasso (2002), and Picasso Looks at Degas (2010).

Featured image is reproduced from 'Picasso Portraits.'

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

The Telegraph

Mark Hudson

Whatever the claims of Johnny Come Latelys such as Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, Pablo Picasso remains the most controversial artist of all time, a man seen for much of his long career as intent on destroying the established categories of art. Yet it’s become apparent over recent decades how much of Picasso’s phenomenal energies were devoted not only to reinventing, but also paying homage to traditional genres – most notably the portrait.

The Times

Rachel Campbell-Johnston

Picasso’s many portraits of friends, lovers and family are among the most vivid pieces of his fantastically prolific and experimental career.

Financial Times

Jackie Wullschlager

how Picasso as a god of forms vitalised portraiture after photography, unpacking the expressive potential of cubist fragmentation through miracles of deformation to proclaim that painterly distortion is truth

Blouin Art Info

Samuel Spencer

in showing Picasso’s works of other people, we actually get one of the clearest images of Picasso himself through his choices of subjects, artistic obsessions, and some of his best-ever works.

Picasso Portraits

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 10/24/2016

Picasso Portraits

Picasso Portraits, Lee Miller

Pablo Picasso's 1937 "Portrait of Lee Miller à l'Arlésienne" is one of nearly 90 artworks featured in the National Portrait Gallery's acclaimed London Picasso Portraits exhibition. At the time the painting was made, Miller was often idealized as "the incarnation of perfect beauty, grace and serenity," according to curator Elizabeth Cowling. "Picasso was having none of this. He knew that the real woman was more than a beautiful face and body, more than a graceful clothes-horse, and he apparently felt that, with her racy wit and libertine sexuality, Miller deserved to be treated with friendly banter rather than awestruck homage." continue to blog


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