A Life of Picasso, Vol. 1: The Prodigy, 1881-1906
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A Life of Picasso, Vol. 1: The Prodigy, 1881-1906 (A Life of Picasso #1)

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  493 ratings  ·  23 reviews
As he magnificently combines meticulous scholarship with irresistible narrative appeal, Richardson draws on his close friendship with Picasso, his own diaries, the collaboration of Picasso's widow Jacqueline, and unprecedented access to Picasso's studio and papers to arrive at a profound understanding of the artist and his work. 800 photos.
Paperback, 560 pages
Published October 16th 2007 by Knopf (first published February 20th 1991)
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Let me try to be a bit more coherent.

First, there is a nice on-line collection of Picasso's complete works (and much, much more) at this site:

The first volume of this biography covers the years 1881-1906 (but really goes through 1907): Picasso's youth, his early years in Paris, Blue Period, Rose Period, the remarkable sojourn at Gósol -- his dealings with Apollinaire, Alfred Jarry (who Picasso actually did not ever meet), the Steins, Matisse -- and his passion (via Paco...more
I’m not sure how many volumes Richardson imagines. Three have been published to date, this first volume in 1991 and the most recent volume, which only goes to 1932, in 2007. When you take into account that Richardson knew Picasso, who died thirty plus years ago, and is therefore not a young man, and that he is not yet halfway through the artist’s life, and that he clearly believes that Picasso remained a major artist throughout his long life, he’s got some serious typing to do because at least t...more
Charles Bechtel
Nov 14, 2012 Charles Bechtel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Artists, painters, historians, people who understand Pablo, people who don't
A while back I found myself, a canoeist for many years, the pilot of a river raft full of terrified landlubbers. I was chosen as pilot because I had wrestled with rapids and quick waters often, and was trusted. About halfway through the trip we were presented with a fast rapids in which an enormous boulder was centered. To one side ran fast water but few rapids, to the other were froths and boiling rages. I could manage either, but there was no way I could precede without managing at least one.

This is Volume One of Richardson's four volume biography of Picasso (Volumes One through Three are available. I believe Volume Four will be published in 2014). If you are looking for a quick read of Picasso's life, this probably is not the book for you. But if you are looking for a biography that weaves Picasso's life with his work in a manner that is both elegant and understandable, start reading this series.

John Richardson is an art historian. He lived near Picasso in the 50's and had a friend...more
I've been eyeing this book on our shelves for twenty years knowing one day I'd get to it. Richardson's volume 1 of Picasso's life takes him up to age 26 just before his breakthrough painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon and the dawn of cubism. Every move the artist makes and every person he meets is covered in his years of struggle and poverty. Excellent on influence of Gertrude Stein and PPs rivalry with Matisse. It's clear Picasso felt he had to divest himself of all family connections especially...more
Steve Thorp
A magisterial, monumental biography of the first 26 years of the most important artist of the 20th century. Impeccably researched and written, and crammed with drawings, paintings, photographs, the book reads like a novel. Essential if you enjoy reading biograpy, or about Western art, or the artistic process, or the life of a great artist, etc.
Jan 10, 2009 Charlie is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
i meant only to look at the pictures, but so well written I find myself reading this textbook/novel book about the life of picasso (from zero to twenty five)
so far, amazing.
very very good.
Exhaustive in detail but still entertaining to read. Tons of pictures, there's nothing I can add that isn't in other reviews. Worth the time and I'm looking forward to starting book 2!
Richard Wise
A magnificent effort. This is my second reading after an interval of ten years. Richardson does a superb job of telling the story of one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century.
Eric Huettenmueller
One of the greatest books son Picasso's early life and career. Richardson knows what he's talking about and is in depth when writing. Great book that I recommend to everyone.
Mark Janowiak
I read the 3 volumes in reverse order which really made no difference. These ARE the definative bios and I can't wait for firther volumes. Read them all!
Kevin Hammon
The three volumes by John Richardson are THE definitive biography of Picasso. They are must read for anyone interested in Picasso.
Another one on my quest to read biographies of all the artists. A tough slog, but fascinating sometimes.
SO so dry, encyclopedic in irrelevant minutiae, slow, and overly long. Could not bring myself to finish it.
Tandra Jorgensen

Extremely well written in every way. It sets a very high standard for all biographies.
Lost In A Fog
This is the first of this amazing biography of a fascinating life....
I'd love to get 'round to the other two volumes eventually!
Guy Cranswick
Superb personal and artistic/cultural biography
Marga Vr
Jan 31, 2008 Marga Vr marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
First of three volumes 548 pages
Sergio  Pizzo Barrale
most comprehensive edition
Finally started reading it.
Bob Peru
picasso. hero. big time.
Fascinating story of Picasso's early years up until 1907 when he painted a modern masterpiece, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Every page is illustrated with drawings, paintings, and photos that illuminate the text. You may not like Picasso as a person but getting a glimpse of the Paris art scene at the beginning of the 20th century is amazing.
Farnoush Bikdeli
Farnoush Bikdeli marked it as to-read
Aug 30, 2014
Marit Oyen
Marit Oyen marked it as to-read
Aug 28, 2014
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Aug 28, 2014
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Aug 25, 2014
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Sir John Patrick Richardson, KBE, is a British art historian and Picasso biographer. The elder son of Sir Wodehouse Richardson, he was sent to board at two successive schools after his father's death in 1929. When he was thirteen he became a boarder at Stowe school, where he admired the architecture and landscape and was taught something about the work of Picasso and other innovative painters. Aft...more
More about John Richardson...
A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years: 1917-1932 (Vol 3) A Life of Picasso, Vol. 2: The Painter of Modern Life, 1907-1917 Dream On: The Challenge To Break Par In A Year Sacred Monsters, Sacred Masters: Beaton, Capote, Dalí, Picasso, Freud, Warhol, and More The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Picasso, Provence, and Douglas Cooper

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