Painting a Vivid Picture of Life with Picasso; Loving Picasso - the Private Journals of Fernande Olivier (Abrams. Pounds 24). Reviewed by Richard Edmonds

The Birmingham Post (England), June 16, 2001 | Go to article overview

Painting a Vivid Picture of Life with Picasso; Loving Picasso - the Private Journals of Fernande Olivier (Abrams. Pounds 24). Reviewed by Richard Edmonds


Byline: Richard Edmonds

Fernande Olivier was the first of Picasso's serious lovers. Beautiful, wayward and highly intelligent she told of her experiences with the artist in a colourful diary which until now has remained in the original French. But at last, after an eight year gestation period, the diaries have appeared under the title Loving Picasso in a translation by Christine Baker and Michael Raeburn with an epilogue from John Richardson, the Picasso scholar who set this fine project in motion.

Picasso was 22 when he moved into Montmartre, settling in 1904, in a ramshackle, scarcely sanitary building known cheerfully as the Bateau Lavoire. Fernande (or La Belle Fernande) as she was known to the artists, poets and dossers who made up Picasso's circle turned up within months of his moving into Montmartre, and since life and art were inseparable for him, she appears in much of the early work as the model.

She kept a diary of the days and years spent with him and she records with breathtaking perspicacity the tensions, the rivalry, ambitions and small joys of this special world when the 20th century was being forged. Fernande and Picasso shared the cramped Montmartre apartment until summer came and then they joined the general exodus from Paris heading for Spain or the French countryside.

But there was always a role to play. She was Picasso's lover above all else, his housekeeper and his concierge, keeping unwanted people at bay especially when the creative urge came upon him which generally happened in the early hours of the morning.

But when artists build shrines to their lovers in a corner of their studios (which is what happened) you can usually expect blood on the wall when passion dies. Fernande stuck it out for seven years during which time Picasso became tyrannical, thinking nothing of locking her in and forbidding her to wander outside.

Not that she was an easy woman to live with. In May 1906 the couple left for Barcelona via the Gare d'Orsay (now a museum of course).

The poets Max Jacob and Guillaume Appollinaire helped them with the luggage which included a huge wicker trunk loaded heavily with oil paints and brushes.

'We were in a third class compartment and I felt so nervous and anxious I couldn't sleep at all, and this kept Picasso, who wanted to sleep, awake as well.'

At Port Bou they changed compartments moving up to first class, arriving in Barcelona (Picasso's home territory) around seven in the evening. Suddenly, a group of noisy Catalans who surrounded them left Fernande in despair, so much so that she begged tearfully to be taken back to Paris.

Luckily, there wasn't a train around and so she goes to sleep eventually in the Hotel Catalunya (Picasso apparently couldn't sleep a wink with worry) awakening refreshed and happy next day with Paris off her agenda. So he had his share of aggravation too.

'Dear, thoughtful Picasso,' she wrote, 'He only thinks of making me happy - even at the cost of his own pleasure.'

She added a postscript. 'Apart from his work, I think he cares for me more than anything in the world.' Obviously, she was proved to be wrong. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Painting a Vivid Picture of Life with Picasso; Loving Picasso - the Private Journals of Fernande Olivier (Abrams. Pounds 24). Reviewed by Richard Edmonds
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.