Friday, 4 February 2011

Picasso’s ephemeral works

This article was first published in my newsletter "Notes From My French Easel" – October 2010. Follow the link to subscribe to the newsletter.

Picasso created a lot of works all the time and tried many media or means of expression. But what is interesting is his attitude to art and creation: there was no minor form of art and he always had a playful attitude to art, like a child.

In his book “Conversations with Picasso”, the French photographer Brassaï gave several examples of this attitude. In 1944, when both artists came to talk about matchboxes, Picasso showed to Brassaï a sculpture he made with matchsticks linked together by small balls of plasticine. Unfortunately, Brassaï was not able to photograph this frail work which has now disappeared.

Dora Maar had a small collection of sculptures and objects created by Picasso: “small birds made of brass bottle caps, made of wood, bones; a piece of wood transformed in a blackbird; a fragment of bone gnawed by the sea and transformed into an eagle’s head…”

There is also a moving anecdote about Dora’s bichon:

“Dora had a white bichon that she adored… One day, it died… To console the dog’s sad mistress, at every meal, for several days, Picasso revived the little dog with his big black eyes and his dropping ears. The nose, eyes and mouth are sometimes punctured; more often burnt with embers from a match or a cigarette… One cannot see the fluffy paper of the napkin, but the silky and waving white coat of this dog brought back to life, looking at us through the fringes of his long hair.”

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