Picasso: Life and Art

By Pierre Daix; Olivia Emmet | Go to book overview

SOURCE NOTES

Introduction
1.
Princeton University Press, 1989. An extremely interesting work of deciphering, which sometimes suffers from a lack of points of comparison within the European reality of the period. This history of anarchy at the turn of the century has not received much attention at the university level. Cited hereinafter as P.L.
2.
Gertrude Stein, Picasso (Boston, 1985), p. 52.
3.
See Rubin's summary of the question in Gen, pp. 419 and 420. When I was working on D-B, I spoke to Picasso about his Blindman's Feast (Repas de l'Aveugle) owned by the Metropolitan Museum. I told him that John Berger, in his Success and Failure of Picasso (just out in English and not yet translated into French), claimed that he had painted blind men because he "feared blindness as a result of his [venereal] disease. He imagined this disease destroying his very center." This information produced a vehement burst of laughter, a series of offensive remarks about English sexuality, and outraged anger at such incomprehension by a writer on art who would invoke the clap to explain a painter's fascinated interest in a blindman's face. A short time later we found ourselves discussing this subject again because a former Surrealist had just died of the clap (prudishly alluded to as a "degenerative nervous malady"). Picasso told me, citing examples among friends common to both of us, that the Surrealists had been irresponsible in matters of this kind, "flaunting [as he put it] their hot piss and their cankers like so many decorations won at the front." And he recounted his own bordello adventures—notably in the company of Apollinaire—in a tone of relaxed amusement, free of the anguish that has been detected in some of his erotic drawings.

I would add that one would have to be entirely ignorant of the atmosphere within Picasso's bande or at the Bateau-Lavoir to think that anyone could have kept a mishap of this kind secret or would have wanted to. Everyone was aware of the private affairs of everyone else; and, unlike the generation immediately preceding—that of Baudelaire, Flaubert, Manet, and Gauguin—none of Picasso's companions are known to have suffered from syphilis.


Chapter 1
1.
I have used family data from SDI; from Sabartès, "Pensées sur Picasso," in Picasso (Paris, 1955); and from Palau. For an understanding of the Mediterranean family and to escape certain misapprehensions which derive from an Anglo-Saxon or Nordic approach to these realities, Germaine Tillion's ethnological study la République des

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