ART/MEDiA: Josep Palau i Fabre & Picasso

Has this guy got a thing for Pablo?

It’s coming up to 7am, the night after my pal Dan’s 50th birthday party. After a few hours sleep, I’m awake again, and not likely to get back to sleep for a while. So I decided to add a few more of my book reviews to Good Reads.

My first extravagant art book acquisition.

Two of the additions were titles by Catalan writer, poet and Picasso expert Josep Palau i Fabre (read more on him here). The first was my first plush art book purchase (pictured above), bought whilst still in my teens. The second (below) I bought many years later.

#2, a much more recent purchase.

And tonight, whilst doing the reviews and unable to sleep, I ordered, via Amazon, i Fabre’s third in the series, Picasso: From the Ballets to Drama, 1917-1926.

Was i Fabre planning to cover Picasso’s whole life, ultimately? I’ve found another title, possibly the next in such a series. But, rather oddly, there’s no mention of any such book on the Wikipedia page about his life and works I’ve linked to above.

And most recently, ordered tonight, #3.

Whatever his plans and ambitions may have been in this respect (and the writings of John Richardson, also on Picasso, spring to mind in this connection), i Fabre died in 2008, aged 90, not having got further – in terms of the chronological catalogue raisonne type works – than either this, or the possible sequel, Picasso: From Minotour To Guernica 1927-1939.

So far I have just the first two volumes, both big fat chunky hardbacks, The Early Years, 1881-1907, and Cubism, 1907-1917, purchased many years apart. Having ordered number three in the series, Ballets & Drama, 1917-1926 – at a very reasonable £27.75 (inc. postage!) – I’m very excited at the prospect of both enlarging my collection and, best of all, perusing all the artworks.

Currently out of my price range… #4.

I’d get the next one, as well, if I could find it at an affordable price. The cheapest copy on Amazon UK when I made my most recent order was priced at £220! I think I’ll try shopping around a bit. Mind you, the three copies listed on right now range from £360 to £1,400! Making the initially exorbitant £220 seem quite reasonable!

If I’m honest the textual content, whilst of interest, is a distant second to the images. Like a lot of art history or related literature, the texts of the two I have are hardly the main selling point, for me; rather hagiographic, and a bit lumpen – is this partly the translation? (I’m not in a rush to read his poetry!) – I do dip into it.

But the pictorial content, Picasso’s work, is what it’s all about for me.

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