10 Great Books About Picasso

Picasso, the name itself resonates with creativity, innovation, and a revolutionary approach to art. So, reading books about Picasso is always fun. His works have left an indelible mark on the world of art, influencing generations of artists and enthusiasts alike. Delving into the life and art of Picasso is like embarking on a journey through the tumultuous landscape of the 20th century. To aid in this exploration, here are ten captivating books about Picasso’s life, art, and legacy, spanning both fiction and nonfiction realms.

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10 Great Books About Picasso

Books About Picasso

Picasso A Biography - Patrick O'Brian

Picasso A Biography – Patrick O’Brian

Patrick O’Brian’s outstanding biography of Picasso is the only biography fully to appreciate the distinctly Mediterranean origins of Picasso’s character and art among books about Picasso.

Everything about Picasso, except his physical stature, was on an enormous scale. No painter of the first rank has been so awe-inspiringly productive. No painter of any rank has made so much money. A few painters have rivaled his life span of ninety years, but none has attracted so avid, so insatiable, a public interest.

Patrick O’Brian knew Picasso sufficiently well to have a strong sense of his personality. The man that emerges from this scholarly, passionate, and brilliantly written biography is one of many contradictions: hard and tender, mean and generous, affectionate and cold, private despite the relish of his fame. In his later years he professed communism, yet in O’Brian’s view retained to the end of his life a residual Catholic outlook.

Not that such matters were allowed to interfere with his vigorous sensuality. Sex and money, eating and drinking, friends and quarrels, comedies and tragedies, suicides and wars tumble one another in the vast chaos of his experience. he was “a man almost as lonely as the sun, but one who glowed with much the same fierce, burning life.” It is with that impression of its subject that this book leaves its readers among books about Picasso.

Life with Picasso - Françoise Gilot and Carlton Lake

Life with Picasso – Françoise Gilot and Carlton Lake

A unique one among books about Picasso. Francoise Gilot was a young painter in Paris when she first met Picasso – he was sixty-two and she was twenty-one. During the following ten years they were lovers, worked closely together and she became mother to two of his children, Claude and Paloma.

Life with Picasso, her account of those extraordinary years, is filled with intimate and astonishing revelations about the man, his work, his thoughts and his friends – Matisse, Braque, Gertrude Stein and Giacometti among others. Francois Gilot paints a compelling portrait of her turbulent life with the temperamental genius that was Picasso.

She is a superb witness to Picasso as an artist and to his views on art among books about Picasso.

Picasso and the Painting That Shocked the World - Miles J. Unger

Picasso and the Painting That Shocked the World – Miles J. Unger

A good one among books about Picasso. In 1900, eighteen-year-old Pablo Picasso journeyed from Barcelona to Paris, the glittering capital of the art world. For the next several years he endured poverty and neglect before emerging as the leader of a bohemian band of painters, sculptors, and poets. Here he met his first true love and enjoyed his first taste of fame. Decades later Picasso would look back on these years as the happiest of his long life.

Recognition came first from the avant-garde, then from daring collectors like Leo and Gertrude Stein. In 1907, Picasso began the vast, disturbing masterpiece known as Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Inspired by the painting of Paul Cézanne and the inventions of African and tribal sculpture, Picasso created a work that captured the disorienting experience of modernity itself. The painting proved so shocking that even his friends assumed he’d gone mad, but over the months and years it exerted an ever greater fascination on the most advanced painters and sculptors, ultimately laying the foundation for the most innovative century in the history of art. A great subject among books about Picasso

Picasso's War The Destruction of Guernica and the Masterpiece That Changed the World - Russell Martin

Picasso’s War: The Destruction of Guernica and the Masterpiece That Changed the World – Russell Martin

A great pov among books about Picasso. On 26 April 1937, the Basque town of Guernica in northern Spain was bombed by Hitler’s Luftwaffe on behalf of Francisco Franco as he waged a bloody civil war. Twenty-four hours later, the village lay in ruins, its population decimated. This act of terror – the first large-scale attack against civilians in modern warfare – outraged the world, and one man in particular.

Pablo Picasso, an expatriate living in Paris, responded to the devastation in his homeland by beginning work on Guernica, a painting many consider the greatest artwork of the twentieth century. Intermingling themes of politics, art, war and morality, and featuring some of the twentieth century’s most memorable and infamous figures, Russell Martin follows this renowned masterpiece across decades and continents.

From Europe to America and, finally, back to Spain, Picasso’s War sheds light on the conflict that was an ominous prelude to World War II and delivers an unforgettable portrait of a genius whose visionary statement about the horror and terrible wounds of war still resonates today among books about Picasso.

Picasso My Grandfather - Marina Picasso

Picasso: My Grandfather – Marina Picasso

An incredible one among books about Picasso. Marina Picasso remembers being six years old and standing awkwardly in front of the gates of Picasso’s grand house near Cannes. She was there with her father and eight-year-old brother to collect from her grandfather the weekly allowance that Picasso grudgingly gave his eldest son to support is family. Sometimes they were sent away and on other occasions, the gates would be opened and they would walk into the intimidating, exciting chaos of Picasso’s studio to face the man himself and his unpredictable moods.

Looking back, Marina can understand why Picasso had so little interest in his grandchildren; but at the time, she and her brother longed for him to love and understand them. Just a few miles away down the Côte d’Azur, they led a hand-to-mouth existence. Her father was a weak man, reliant on his father for everything and her mother lived in her own fantasy world; the family were therefore utterly dependent on Picasso.

People assumed they were rich and privileged because they were Picassos and they were to live their lives under the burden of these assumptions. It was this that caused Marina’s brother to commit suicide and when her father died Marina found herself in the ironic position of being one of the major heirs to Picasso’s estate. Interesting one among books about Picasso.

Picasso and Truth From Cubism to Guernica - T.J. Clark

Picasso and Truth: From Cubism to Guernica – T.J. Clark

Picasso and Truth offers a breathtaking and original new look at the most significant artist of the modern era among books about Picasso. From Pablo Picasso’s early The Blue Room to the later Guernica, eminent art historian T. J. Clark offers a striking reassessment of the artist’s paintings from the 1920s and 1930s. Why was the space of a room so basic to Picasso’s worldview?

And what happened to his art when he began to feel that room-space become too confined–too little exposed to the catastrophes of the twentieth century? Clark explores the role of space and the interior, and the battle between intimacy and monstrosity, in Picasso’s art among books about Picasso. Based on the A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts delivered at the National Gallery of Art, this lavishly illustrated volume remedies the biographical and idolatrous tendencies of most studies on Picasso, reasserting the structure and substance of the artist’s work.

With compelling insight, Clark focuses on three central works–the large-scale Guitar and Mandolin on a Table (1924), The Three Dancers (1925), and The Painter and His Model (1927)–and explores Picasso’s answer to Nietzsche’s belief that the age-old commitment to truth was imploding in modern European culture. Masterful in its historical contextualization among books about Picasso, Picasso and Truth rescues Picasso from the celebrity culture that trivializes his accomplishments and returns us to the tragic vision of his art–humane and appalling, naïve and difficult, in mourning for a lost nineteenth-century, yet utterly exposed to the hell of Europe between the wars among books about Picasso.

A Life of Picasso - John Richardson

A Life of Picasso – John Richardson

From 1950 to 1962, John Richardson lived near Picasso in France and was a friend of the artist. With a view to writing a biography, the acclaimed art historian kept a diary of their meetings. After Picasso’s death, his widow Jacqueline collaborated in the preparation of this work, giving Richardson access to Picasso’s studio and papers. An interesting one among books about Picasso.

Volume one of this extraordinary biography establishes the complexity of Picasso’s Spanish roots; his aversion to his native Malaga and his passion for Barcelona and Catalan “modernisme” among books about Picasso. Richardson introduces new material on the artist’s early training in religious art; re-examines old legends to provide fresh insights into the artistic failures of Picasso’s father as an impetus to his sons’s triumphs; and includes portraits of Apollinaire, Max Jacob and Gertrude Stein, who made up “The Picasso Gang” in Paris during the “Blue” and “Rose” periods.

Picasso - Gertrude Stein

Picasso – Gertrude Stein

Intimate, revealing memoir of Picasso as man and artist by influential literary figure among books about Picasso. Highly readable amalgam of biographical fact, artistic and aesthetic comments: Picasso as founder of Cubism, associate of Apollinaire, Braque, Derain, other notables; titanic, creative spirit. One of Stein’s most accessible works. 61 black-and-white illustrations.

Cooking for Picasso - Camille Aubray

Cooking for Picasso – Camille Aubray

A fun novel among books about Picasso. The French Riviera, spring 1936: It’s off-season in the lovely seaside village of Juan-les-Pins, where seventeen-year-old Ondine cooks with her mother in the kitchen of their family-owned Café Paradis. A mysterious new patron who’s slipped out of Paris and is travelling under a different name has made an unusual request–to have his lunch served to him at the nearby villa he’s secretly rented, where he wishes to remain incognito.

Pablo Picasso is at a momentous crossroads in his personal and professional life–and for him, art and women are always entwined. The spirited Ondine, chafing under her family’s authority and nursing a broken heart, is just beginning to discover her own talents and appetites. Her encounter with Picasso will continue to affect her life for many decades onward, as the great artist and the talented young chef each pursue their own passions and destiny.

New York, present day: Céline, a Hollywood makeup artist who’s come home for the holidays, learns from her mother, Julie, that Grandmother Ondine once cooked for Picasso. Prompted by her mother’s enigmatic stories and the hint of more family secrets yet to be uncovered, Céline carries out Julie’s wishes and embarks on a voyage to the very town where Ondine and Picasso first met. In the lush, heady atmosphere of the Côte d’Azur, and with the help of several eccentric fellow guests attending a rigorous cooking class at her hotel, Céline discovers truths about art, culture, cuisine, and love that enable her to embrace her own future.

Featuring an array of both fictional characters and the French Riviera’s most famous historical residents, set against the breathtaking scenery of the South of France, Cooking for Picasso is a touching, delectable, and wise story, illuminating the powers of trust, money, art, and creativity in the choices that men and women make as they seek a path toward love, success, and joie de vivre among books about Picasso.

Madame Picasso - Anne Girard

Madame Picasso – Anne Girard

Novelist Anne Girard brings to life the mesmerizing and untold story of Eva Gouel, the unforgettable woman who stole the heart of the greatest artist of our time, among books about Picasso.  

When Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a customer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world. 

A brilliant but eccentric artist, Picasso sets his sights on Eva, and Eva can’t help but be drawn into his web. But what starts as a torrid affair soon evolves into what will become the first great love of Picasso’s life.  

With sparkling insight and passion, Madame Picasso introduces us to a dazzling heroine, taking us from the salon of Gertrude Stein to the glamorous Moulin Rouge and inside the studio and heart of one of the most enigmatic and iconic artists of the twentieth century among books about Picasso.

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Are there any books about Picasso you’d like to add to this list? Would you please share in the comments section below?

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