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Lurching up to bed with the champion of Cubism

Nicholas Penny: Douglas Cooper, 20 January 2000

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Picasso, Provence and Douglas Cooper 
by John Richardson.
Cape, 320 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 224 05056 7
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... John Richardson is one of those gossips who knows – or at least knows about – everyone. For example (on page 118, to be precise), Marie-Laure (1), Maurice Bischoffsheim (2), the Comtesse de Chevigné (3), the Duchesse de Guermantes (4), the Marquis de Sade (5), Jean Cocteau (6), the Vicomte de Noailles (7), an anonymous gym instructor (8), Igor Markevitch (9), Diaghilev (10), Nijinsky (11), Maurice Gendron (12): I was the daughter of 2, an immensely rich Belgian banker, and the granddaughter of 3, who was said to be the model for 4, and was also – would you believe it? – the great-great-granddaughter of 5 ...

Richardson’s Rex

Richard Wollheim, 10 October 1991

A Life of Picasso: Vol. I 1881-1906 
by John Richardson and Marilyn McCulley.
Cape, 548 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 224 03024 8
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... that at every turn the narrative seems to play itself out before our eyes, the first volume of John Richardson’s long-awaited Life of Picasso will leave its readers waiting impatiently for Volume Two. Long may it go on. Meanwhile it is a special kind of pleasure to be able to praise the book of an old and close friend, and be confident that the ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Unimpressed by good booking men, 24 June 2004

... in September by the Waywiser Press. In his obituary of Wollheim in the Independent last November, John Richardson wrote that Germs – which Wollheim thought ‘the best piece of work’ he had ‘ever done’ – ‘must not be allowed to become a chef d’oeuvre inconnu’. Now it will not, though Waywiser is a very small publisher without the ...

At Tate Modern

James Attlee: ‘Picasso 1932’, 5 July 2018

... The justification for this survey of a single year is made in a nod to Picasso’s biographer, John Richardson, who described 1931-32 as his annus mirabilis. It was a hugely productive year, in part because of the new work Picasso was creating for the retrospective, in part, it’s claimed, because of his relationship with the 22-year-old ...

The Vanishing Brothel

Linda Nochlin, 6 March 1997

A Life of Picasso. Vol. II: 1907-1917 
by John Richardson and Marilyn McCully.
Cape, 500 pp., £30, November 1996, 0 224 03120 1
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Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man 
by Norman Mailer.
Little, Brown, 398 pp., £25, November 1996, 0 316 88173 2
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Picasso and the Spanish Tradition 
edited by Jonathan Brown.
Yale, 208 pp., £30, November 1996, 0 300 06475 6
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... encounter with the Demoiselles because the painting figures so prominently in the second volume of John Richardson’s magisterial Life of Picasso, whose first chapter, and part of the second, are devoted to its genesis, sources, formal innovations and iconography, and the ways in which Picasso’s experiences at the time he was painting it affected its ...

Bon Viveur in Cuban Heels

Julian Bell: Picasso, 3 January 2008

A Life of Picasso. Vol. III: The Triumphant Years 1917-32 
by John Richardson.
Cape, 592 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 224 03121 9
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... since before the First World War. The epithet ‘triumphant’ in the title of the new volume of John Richardson’s magnum opus has a brash, swaggering ring: fittingly so. This is the tale of an extremely rich and famous man who came pretty near to doing whatever he wanted. The Picasso of the 1920s was physically strong and socially supple: he could ...

Taken aback

Frank Kermode, 25 June 1987

Close Quarters 
by William Golding.
Faber, 281 pp., £9.95, June 1987, 0 571 14779 8
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... this fate, and few may know that the familiar expression has a nautical origin. According to Sir John Richardson, as quoted in the OED, it happens thus: ‘when through a shift of wind or bad steerage, the wind comes in front of the square sails and lays them back against the masts, instantly staying the inward course and giving her stern way, an ...

Late Picasso

Nicholas Penny, 20 November 1986

Je suis le Cahier: The Sketchbooks of Picasso 
edited by Arnold Glimcher and Marc Glimcher.
Thames and Hudson, 349 pp., £36, September 1986, 0 500 23461 2
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The Musèe Picasso, Paris: Catalogue of the Collections. Paintings, Papiers Collés, Picture Reliefs, Sculptures, Ceramics 
by Marie-Laure Besnard-Bernadac, Michéle Richet and Hélène Seckel.
Thames and Hudson, 315 pp., £25, October 1986, 0 500 23461 2
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Degas: The Complete Etchings, Lithographs and Monotypes 
by Jean Adhémar and Françoise Cachin.
Thames and Hudson, 290 pp., £25, October 1986, 0 500 09114 5
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... that Picasso, towards the end of his life, became addicted to all-in wrestling on the telly – as John Richardson informs us in the sympathetic account of those years (and brave attempt to defend Picasso’s late work) which appeared in the New York Review of Books on 19 July 1984. However private these sketchbooks were, they reveal, more and more as we ...

I, too, am an artist

Linda Nochlin: Dora Maar, 4 January 2001

Dora Maar with and without Picasso: A Biography 
by Mary Ann Caws.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £24.95, October 2000, 0 500 51009 1
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... Especially striking is her portrait of Christian (‘Bébé’) Bérard as a jovial latter-day John the Baptist, his head neatly suspended at the edge of a round pool as though on a tray. There are also distinctive fashion photographs, like the one of a model in a bathing-suit superimposed on a pattern of sun-dappled water; or another of a tiny sailing ...

Always There

Julian Barnes: George Braque, 15 December 2005

Georges Braque: A Life 
by Alex Danchev.
Hamish Hamilton, 440 pp., £35, May 2005, 0 241 14078 1
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Landscape in Provence 1750-1920 
Montréal Musée des Beaux ArtsShow More
Derain: The London Paintings 
Courtauld InstituteShow More
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... Picasso the more. One of the great undocumented exchanges – perhaps we shall learn more when John Richardson reaches the war years – came when Picasso spent a week in 1944 trying to persuade Braque to join the Communist Party. Braque denied him, as he also denied a second approach from none other than Simone Signoret (I feel a three-hander play ...

High-Meriting, Low-Descended

John Mullan: The Unpolished Pamela, 12 December 2002

Pamela: or, Virtue Rewarded 
by Samuel Richardson, edited by Thomas Keymer and Alice Wakely.
Oxford, 592 pp., £6.99, June 2001, 0 19 282960 2
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... Samuel Richardson’s account of a servant girl’s defence of her virtue against the advances of her lascivious master (‘Mr B’), given in her own letters, made what we now call ‘the Novel’ (though Richardson never attached this label to his book) respectable. Pamela caused an unprecedented stir, exciting something like a national argument about the purposes and value of fiction ...

The Hooks of her Gipsy Dresses

Nicholas Penny, 1 September 1988

Picasso: Creator and Destroyer 
by Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington.
Weidenfeld, 559 pp., £16, June 1988, 0 02 977935 9
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... and far better written account of Picasso’s life with her will be found in the essay by John Richardson reprinted in the catalogue of the Tate Gallery’s Late Picasso exhibition. It must be said, however, that an impartial view is hardly possible if one is dependent, as all serious Picasso scholars are, on the good will of one or ...

Rinse it in dead champagne

Colm Tóibín: The women who invented beauty, 5 February 2004

War Paint: Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden: Their Lives, Their Times, Their Rivalry 
by Lindy Woodhead.
Virago, 498 pp., £20, April 2003, 1 86049 974 0
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Diana Vreeland 
by Eleanor Dwight.
HarperCollins, 308 pp., £30, December 2002, 0 688 16738 1
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... Years later, when much cream had been spread and rouge faded and money spent, figures such as John Richardson, Graham Sutherland and Bruce Chatwin would have dealings with Helena Rubinstein. Rubinstein trusted Richardson, in as much as she trusted anyone, because he told her that certain paintings in her vast art ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: On the Original Non-Event , 20 April 1995

... by which every drop of blood and every smidgen of originality was extracted from a script. Now John H. Richardson, a writer for Premiere magazine, has updated the Kael concept. When Richardson writes that ‘the only big-canvas film-maker of stature we have today is Oliver Stone,’ he ...

Female Heads

John Bayley, 27 October 1988

Woman to Woman: Female Friendship in Victorian Fiction 
by Tess Cosslett.
Harvester, 211 pp., £29.95, July 1988, 0 7108 1015 6
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Sentiment and Sociability: The Language of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century 
by John Mullan.
Oxford, 261 pp., £25, June 1988, 0 19 812865 7
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The Early Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney. Vol. I: 1768-1773 
edited by Lars Troide.
Oxford, 353 pp., £45, June 1988, 9780198125815
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... a part of life too much taken for granted for the new novel to interest itself in realistically. Richardson uses as a convention the letter-writing of Clarissa and Anna Howe, but their intimacy is itself a fact to be taken for granted. The problem is that once men have invented women in fiction, it is difficult for women not to produce a counter-invention in ...

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