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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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... JohnRichardson 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 ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Unimpressed by good booking men

24 June 2004
... in two recent issues of the London Review (15 April and 20 May), is to be published in its entirety in September by the Waywiser Press. In his obituary of Wollheim in the Independent last November, JohnRichardson 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 ...

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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... style, carrying effortlessly a great deal of information, much of it new, and illustrated so profusely that at every turn the narrative seems to play itself out before our eyes, the first volume of JohnRichardson’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 ...
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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... unreasonably, with the equally forbidden realm of the sexual. I go on at such length about my first encounter with the Demoiselles because the painting figures so prominently in the second volume of JohnRichardson’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 ...

At Tate Modern

James Attlee: ‘Picasso 1932’

5 July 2018
... life that unfolded in the studio, the workings of which were as mysterious to him as to anyone else. The justification for this survey of a single year is made in a nod to Picasso’s biographer, JohnRichardson, 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 ...

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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... allowed to glimpse in the mid-1930s had ridden out the Wall Street crash, and had been accumulating since before the First World War. The epithet ‘triumphant’ in the title of the new volume of JohnRichardson’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 ...

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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... by accident or rather by negligence, when the ship is taken aback. A steam-powered ship cannot suffer this fate, and few may know that the familiar expression has a nautical origin. According to Sir JohnRichardson, 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 ...

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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... innovative and effective, clearly enlivened by what might be called ‘the effects of Surrealism’. 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 ...

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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... best merely humorous and at worst embarrassing. Looking at the orgy in Sketchbook No 165 reminds us that Picasso, towards the end of his life, became addicted to all-in wrestling on the telly – as JohnRichardson 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 ...

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 ...

No Sense of an Ending

Jane Eldridge Miller

21 September 1995
Windows on Modernism: Selected Letters of Dorothy Richardson 
edited by Gloria Fromm.
Georgia, 696 pp., £58.50, February 1995, 0 8203 1659 8
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... To read the letters of Dorothy Richardson is to become exhausted, vicariously, by the ‘non-stop housewifery’ which consumed her days. From 1918 until 1939, Richardson and her husband moved three times a year. Every autumn, they settled in a primitive rented cottage in Cornwall, where Richardson was responsible for shopping, cooking and cleaning, as well as for her ...

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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... to resist Picasso. Silence and withdrawal were Braque’s main tactics, which of course exasperated Picasso the more. One of the great undocumented exchanges – perhaps we shall learn more when JohnRichardson 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 ...

A Hideous Skeleton, with Cries and Dismal Howlings

Nina Auerbach: The haunting of the Hudson Valley

24 June 2004
Possessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson Valley 
by Judith Richardson.
Harvard, 296 pp., £19.95, October 2003, 0 674 01161 9
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... Judith Richardson begins Possessions by quoting a 1933 guidebook to the Hudson Valley: ‘How comes the Hudson to this unique heritage of myth, ghosts, goblins and other lore?’ By the end of her exhaustive chronicle ...

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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... of the topic, although one should add, thinking of the role of dramatic confidantes – that it was 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 ...
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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... perceives that Huffington’s treatment of her doesn’t so much as try to be fair. A more sympathetic and far better written account of Picasso’s life with her will be found in the essay by JohnRichardson 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 ...

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