Pablo Picasso, the inventor of Cubism, and Guillaume Apollinaire, the inventor of Surrealism, met in 1905, forged a close friendship, and between them laid the foundations of modernism in twentieth-century art and literature. Apollinaire's death in the 1918 flu epidemic did not diminish his importance to Picasso, who continued to draw on the poet for inspiration until his own death in 1973. Picasso and Apollinaire is a lively and impeccably researched examination of the creative interaction and fraternal complicity between the artist and the poet, as reflected in such works as Picasso's polymorphous portraits of Apollinaire, his 1907 drawings for Apollinaire's Bestiary poems, and the self-portrait he drew on the night the poet died. Peter Read delves into unpublished archive documents to show that many of Picasso's subsequent drawings, paintings, and sculptures were shaped by his response to the poet's most lyrical and uninhibited writing. Along with an authoritative discussion of Apollinaire's best poetry, prose, and critical writing, the book opens unexpected pathways through Picasso's career-his early exhibitions in Paris, the fierce iron reliquary Woman in a Garden his commemorative, semi-abstract painting The Kitchen, his monument to Apollinaire in Saint-Germain-des-Prés-and throws new light on the cultural and political context in which these works were produced.
Peter Read is Professor of French at the University of Kent, Canterbury, England. He is the translator of Apollinaire's The Cubist Painters (UC Press) and the author of Picasso et Apollinaire: Les métamorphoses de la mémoire, which he has extensively revised for this English-language edtion.
“Impressively researched study.”—Times Literary Supplement (TLS)
“A pleasure to read. . . . Exacting and witty [it] is multi-faceted, penetrating and truthful as a Cubist painting.”—Caroline Levitt Burlington Magazine
“Read delves into unpublished archive documents to examine the creative interaction and fraternal complicity between the two men, as demonstrated in works such as Picasso's polymorphous portraits of the poet and his 1907 drawings for Apollinaire's Bestiary poems.”—Times Higher Education
“Anyone who wishes to understand exactly how the works of each of those two artists, so individual yet so united, fit together in life and in death, needs to know Peter Read’s [new book].”—Art Blog By Bob
"This is a remarkable account of one of the most fascinating and fruitful artistic friendships of the twentieth century. Peter Read writes with great knowledge and sympathy about the complex ways in which Apollinaire and Picasso provoked and inspired each other, and how Apollinaire's presence continued to resonate in Picasso's work long after the poet's death in 1918. Carefully researched and gracefully written, this book will satisfy the general reader as well as the specialist: it is both deeply informative and a pleasure to read."—Jack Flam, author of Matisse: The Man and His Art, 1869-1918
"Full of scintillating historical detail and written with a vivid sense of the cultural scene in which Picasso and Apollinaire formed their friendship, this brilliant book is a must for anyone who wants to understand the dialogue between poetry and the visual arts in modernity. Read constructs an original path through the most important years of Picasso's career, and also provides us with a profound glimpse of the artist's many memorial gestures to his lost friend, including the fascinating story of the eventual inauguration of a sculptural monument in honor of the poet, its disappearance and reappearance."—Neil Cox, author of Cubism
“Picasso and Apollinaire were the founding fathers of the modern movement: virtually every innovation in modern art and literature can be traced to them. Using his unrivaled knowledge of French poetry, literature, and art criticism, Peter Read explores the friendship that bound these two giants together. His brilliant and revelatory book is written with a lightness of touch that belies more than twenty years of painstaking research.”—Patrick Elliott, author of Picasso on Paper