Archive for October 25th, 2012

Today is Picasso’s birthday.

Yesterday the New York Times ran a two-page article about the analysis of his 1904 painting “Woman Ironing” which shows that it is painted over another painting, a portrait study, also by Picasso. Strapped for cash, he regarded the older, unfinished painting as mere canvas.

Go to http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/10/25/arts/design/hidden-picasso.html?ref=design to see the unfinished portrait of a man painted two or three years earlier.  (The image could not be copied and saved to file.)

The identity of the man is not nearly as interesting (though that is what fascinates the scholars and technicians who worked on this case) as the fact that Picasso abandoned the project and two years later thought it worthless.

The painting hidden under “Woman Ironing” is a competent study, of course.  Picasso had mastered all skills of drawing and painting by the age of fourteen.  Conventional portrait painting would have brought in a comfortable living. But Picasso, age twenty-two, did not allow himself to be satisfied with his prodigious technical skills. He was penniless and lived in a hovel.  He did not cave in.  The old way of seeing the world had to be abandoned.  How? And can you even do that?  And what will be the new way?  You sure?  Of course not.  But there is no evidence that Picasso ever doubted. His inability to doubt himself is not to be equated with complacency, however.  He worked every day of his life, long hours, way into the night.  He died April 8, 1973, shortly after getting up at 11 a.m., having worked, as usual, until 4 a.m.

Find the full NYtimes article at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/arts/design/under-a-picasso-painting-another-picasso-painting.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&hpw

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.




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