Mary Ann Caws

  • Visiting Picasso: The Notebooks and Letters of Roland Penrose by Elizabeth Cowling
    Thames and Hudson, 408 pp, £25.00, May 2006, ISBN 0 500 51293 0

A lot of the stories, truthful or otherwise, about Picasso are as colourful as they are improbable. Picasso liked the mystery, was eager for no one to be sure what he would do next. Told that Joanna Drew, a curator at the Hayward Gallery, had found cocoons huddled in the slits of his Man with a Sheep, Picasso said that at Vauvenargues one day he had felt a wasps’ nest between the sheep’s legs; nothing more natural: animals lurking in the animal. Picasso always wanted the statue to be accessible to everyone, so that the children could play with it and the dogs piss on it.

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