Welcome to the blog of Melanie McDonald ! I'm a professional artist, my life is divided between my home in Newquay, Cornwall and my renovation project - an 18th Century farm - in North Brittany, France. My inspiration comes from the beautiful beaches, skies and seas of Cornwall, Brittany and Scotland. This is where I share my paintings and photographs, I hope it inspires you.

September 25, 2008

Reading about Picasso

Click to enlarge.
Scan from Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man by Norman Mailer
ISBN 0-87113-608-2 The Atlantic Monthly Press. Page 232, 233.

One of the things I have time for now I live in France is reading. I have stacks of unread art books.

Most of our books are stored in our enormous French grenier (or Gauguin's Loft) which has no electric. I grabbed the first book I felt, and I've just finished it - Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man by Norman Mailer. Although not a novel, (or possibly it is? it's hard to tell as it's claimed to be an interpretive biography - another reviewer felt it was more about Norman Mailer's own life, but I digress), it's compelling reading.

The book centers around Picasso's great love affair with Fernande Olivier and quotes extensively from her memoirs. Mailer argues that she has a lot to say because after all she 'did live with a great painter through his most profound period of artistic transition'. For me, her memoirs bring Picasso to life. You can feel the life they had together living in the studio, the intensity of it all - creating paintings, discussing art and life, falling in love, evenings spent with friends and contemporaries - alongside the mess, dogs, smells, hunger and poverty. I find it amusing that Mailer says that Fernande is the only writer about Picasso who gives herself more attention than him! Oh, to have been a fly on the wall ....

They lived in Montmartre in Paris. Which reminds me of another story. More later.
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