Spring is here, and with it the second to last meeting of the Club. Our special guest this time was Pepe Serra, the Director of the Museu Picasso, and because Pepe is an expert on the subject of Picasso, we chose for this session a book that is crucial to any real understanding of the artist’s creative universe, and of his personality — in other words, both the work and the flesh-and-blood human being who made it possible. That book is Brassaï’s Conversations with Picasso.
Jorge Carrión & Pepe Serra
Brassaï’s book is rich in factual information and insights about the artist and much more besides: a chronicle of the friendship between Picasso and the photographer who best portrayed him and his work, a history of a large part of twentieth century art (the Surrealists, Dalí, Paris during the Second World War, Arthur Miller…), an objective look at the painter’s ‘Catalan-ness’ and the importance of Sabartés in his life, and so on.
In our talk about the book, Pepe drew attention to the way that Brassaï gives us the true dimension of the man and the artist, far removed from the clichés and the mythologizing of the ‘genius’ that were commonplace during his life and ended up turning him into a tourist attraction, as a distressed Picasso said to Brassaï.
Participants during the session
Some of the participants in the session also mentioned the passage in which Brassaï quotes Picasso as saying that children paint with a creative spontaneity that he was denied by commencing his academic training at such an early age, and how many of comments of this kind have been extrapolated and twisted to give them a completely different meaning.
We all were very surprised at the spirit of modernity and immediacy to be found in the artist’s creative processes and his relationship with creativity and the work of art. And of course one of the things that really struck us was the references to the foundation of the Museu Picasso, and how excited both Sabartés and Picasso himself were about it.
Our special guests at the final session of the Reading Club this season, scheduled for June 2nd (we’ll be back in October), will be the writer Julián Rodríguez (we’ll be reading his novel Ninguna necesidad) and the artist Pedro G. Romero (the author of Las correspondencias), who is preparing a project for the Museum.
Have you read Brassaï’s book about Picasso? Was there any aspect that has surprised you?