This award-winning graphic biography of Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) captures the prolific and eventful life of one of the world’s best-loved artists. Pablo explores Picasso’s early life among the bohemians of Montmartre, his turbulent relationship with artist/model Fernande Olivier, and how his art developed through friendshipswith poets Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire, the painter Georges Braque, and his great rival Henri Matisse. Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie depict a career that began in poverty and reached its climax with the advent of cubism and modern art.
Pablo is a graphic novel biography of the early life of Pablo Picasso. The narrative take place from the point of view of Fernande Olivier, Picasso's lover and muse and the subject of over 60 of his early works. Being a student of Art History, this really piqued my interest when I spotted it as I was walking out of my city's library. "A graphic novel biography!?", I thought. "Might as well give it a go."
The novel begins with Picasso's arrival in Paris and leads us through his transformation from a conventional painter to the great pioneer of Cubism. This novel ends with the completion of his first great masterpiece, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in 1907. However, if you know anything about Picasso then you'll know that he died in 1973, yet we end here in 1907, so this is very much a hagiography of his Blue, Rose, and African periods.
The art style of this work is highly admirable. In my opinion, it is drawn in a somewhat rushed, simplistic style but with a highly ambient palette. Some may have some reservations about the artwork, especially those who are used to highly polished American comic books, but I feel the art lends itself to the narrative.
However, as I mentioned earlier, Art History is kinda my thing. I know quite a bit about Picasso and his works so this novel was a mere flight of fancy to me. The authors have clearly taken a lot of artistic license with Picasso's real story and idolise him to near God-like levels. Not in a million years would this ever be acknowledged by any art historical institute. However, if you know literally nothing about Picasso then I would recommend this because it does cover the major events of his early life even if they are highly idealised. For me however, I cannot say that I derived anything from this work. It is entirely surface level stuff. If one were to dig any deeper into the narrative they would hit a brick wall. It is very well executed though and I do highly admire the authors for envisaging Picasso's life in such a new and unique way. Just, don't quote this in your assignments.
Picasso was one of the greatest and most fascinating artists ever. A few years ago I went to an exhibition at the Chicago Art Institute on Picasso and Women which took a close look at one of the issues critics from all directions focused on for years. How did cubism and his complicated relationships with women coincide? Why is it he sometimes seemed to depict love as something like murder when he had such passionate relationships with so many women? Did he hate women? Was he a genius? Was he crazy? If you look at his paintings of women, some of them repainted at the most tumultuous times of his relationships with them, or when the relationship was over, you had to wonder if he might bee essentially misogynist. And yet, when he died, why is two of his former lovers committed suicide? Many of these rocky relationships, veering toward madness as they seemed to do, were the source of his most productive work over the course of an amazing career where he forsook tradition and forged new directions few understood at the time.
Julie Bermant and Clement Ouberie combined to create a four volume biography of Picasso that I read in its one volume collection. Picasso was 91 when he died, supposedly with a brush in his hand, so they had to make a decision about which Picasso they would focus on. They chose the early, pre-famous Picasso, when his lover was Fernande Olivier, who becomes the romantic center of these books. They are subtitled for the key relationships with males that were important for him from the time he was in Montmarte and lived with Fernande, including the poets Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire, but she, one of his many muses, is the frame through which we see Picasso. The painter Georges Braque, and his great rival Henri Matisse play central roles in the tale, as do a cascade of names we associate from the period, such as Gertrude Stein and her husband, Alice B. Toklas, cameos in a wild Parisian play, with sex, wine, drugs and art in dizzying array.
If you know nothing about Picasso or this period in Paris, you will be lost wondering who all the people are, I suspect, even after 340 pages. It is a huge and impressive and lovely undertaking, depicting the events and color and feel of the time, and it is never boring. It evokes a time, in comics fashion, versus giving a factual account. We get poetic impressions of the relationship between Picasso and so many people. And the depiction of him here is largely sympathetic, though it was clearly his rages and jealousies made him difficult to deal with
The series is based on Fernande Olivier’s memoir Souvenirs Intimes. Picasso’s first great love, Olivier is still known as “la belle Fernande“. Her book is a close-up view of the seven years she spent with the painter – mostly in the infamous Bateau Lavoir or “Laundry Boat," a ramshackle artist colony built on the side of a hill. It's mostly a romantic vision of an amazing time. I think a depiction of two decades later would be a very different book and different Picasso. But this is impressive and fun.
The Fernande of this book is much like many French comics depictions of women (and often BY women) I have read in recent years: Catel’s Kiki de Montparnasse, Hubert’s Miss Don’t Touch Me, Penelope Bagieu’s Exquisite Corpse, romantic portraits of wispy-haired, lithe, free and lovely (mostly waif-thin) women. I like them all, I'll admit, but I have to say they are similar. Audrey Hepburn? Amelie? After each reading or viewing, I just want to go to Paris. I want to live in that period, drink wine with that crowd. I think I might have written more in my life! Now how much to fly to the south of France… If you like this period and know the names, it will be great to travel back to it with Julie Bermant and Clement Ouberie. It was for me.
I have yet to read a Picasso biography and thought this graphic biography might be a good place to start. I was mistaken. There were lots of people coming and going, and since I did not know many of them, it made for a rather confusing read. I gather this is also a collected edition, which might explain some of the choppiness of the reading experience.
I was expecting a biography of his entire life and work, but this one is rather narrow in scope, and is restricted to the first several years as an artist in Paris. There is all the usual artistic angst, and what I really liked is that this story is told by Fernande Olivier, his lover, obsession and muse for the years they were together. The woman behind the man and his paintings in an interesting angle. I really liked the art and the mood evoked by the color palette used. The story does capture the excitement of Paris in that time period really well. I clearly need to move a biography of the man, and maybe the memoir of Fernande up my TBR pile.
There is a confusion at heart of this large book. The title really should be “Fernande” — the name of a model/muse — the text opens and closes with her, and through her we explore the complicated menagerie of artists, poets, and poseurs. After 342 pages, Pablo Picasso remains enigmatic and undisclosed.
The book is beautifully done, and does impart a sense of the chaos of the Montmartre art scene. Yet I did not enjoy experiencing this heavy book — even the scenes with Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas could not engage my interest.
3 generous stars for effort. If one knows nothing, this might be a good starting point to pick up dangling tangents to explore and see where they might lead.
I decided to read this graphic novel about Picasso since (1) I knew almost nothing about Picasso and (2) it was set, at least in part, in Paris.
This was not my sort of story. It isn't really what I would call a biography, as it only covers a few years of Picasso's life, and it really isn't as much about his life as it is about his relationships with a few people of those few years. I was disappointed with that aspect of the book. I quickly learned that I didn't like Picasso as a human being at all, and that makes reading a book about him very difficult. In addition, it was hard to follow the story. Others have said that the translation is poor, so perhaps that is part of the problem.
This was an interesting book. I was expecting more of a general biography of Picasso, but this is more narrowly focused, telling only the tale of his early years in Paris, before his style was fully formed. It also delves into the life of Fernande, his lover and muse during those years, and is as much her story as it is his. The book examines the various influences on his style, and helps put his work into the greater context of art history in general. I'm not sure how meaningful this book will be to someone who doesn't at least have a hazy knowledge of who Picasso and Braque and Matisse and Alfred Jarry and Rousseau and Gaugin and Gertrude Stein and Apollinaire and so on are. I like the idea of doing artist biographies in comics form; I'm just not sure this book is the best example of that. It's quite good if you know some of the background, but some sort of general knowledge of Picasso and/or early 20th century art is probably advisable.
Сподобалось, але залишилось відчуття - не доказаності історії, і моментами відчувала що сюжет ніби впадав у ліричні діалоги та незрозумілі сцени далекі від суті. І ще дуже шкода, що даний гафічний роман завершується на "Авіньйонських дівчатах", а Пікассо після цього творив ще цілих 70 років і його голубий перід також якось не розкрито (проскочено мигцем), а я люблю його Арлекіна (Harlequin) з того часу. Та загалом такий формат біографії є чудовим - легко, яскраво і доступно про долю художника, його оточення і часи в яких, людина розвинулася у той образ, котрий нам знайомий тепер.
Grafik biyografi. Picasso'nun Paris'e gelişini müteakip zorlu ilk zamanları (1900-1909) ve Fernande Olivier ile ilişkisi konu ediliyor. Yine bu dönemde Picasso'nun resimdeki arayışları ve sanatındaki değişim aktarılıyor.
Anlatıcı Fernande Olivier. Öncelikle onun kendi hikayesini okuyoruz. Sonrasında Picasso ile yolları kesişiyor. Çalkantılı ilişkileri süregiderken; Picasso'nun hayatında yer eden, hayatına yön veren Max Jacob, Gertrude Stein, Apollinaire anlatıya dahil oluyor. Ve büyük rakip Matisse.
Picasso hakkında yüzeysel bir bilgim var, dolayısıyla anlatının gerçeklikle ilişkisine dair bir fikrim yok. Ancak kitap zaten Fernande Olivier'in anılarını temel aldığından bu yönde bir eleştiri bence yersiz. Üstelik, hikayenin Fernande üzerinden anlatılmasının hikayeyi didaktik ve robotik bir anlatımdan kurtardığını ve hoş bir romantik bir perspektif kattığını düşünüyorum.
Çizgiler, renkler, yansıtılan bohem dönem atmosferi ise muhteşem.
I really didn't like this graphic novel. The artwork was great, but the story wasn't. I found it really hard to follow. There were a lot of characters who came in and out of the story that I couldn't keep track of. It also skipped around a lot, I think maybe having chapters would have helped.
I suppose I learned a little bit about Picasso and his life reading it, but I mostly just felt confused when I finished it. Maybe something was lost in translation? I did like the Vincent van Gogh book that is in the same series (different author/artist though so maybe that made the difference).
Graphic not-novel biography of the artist himself with brilliant artwork. A collection of vignettes featuring various figures in Picasso's life, told from two points of view: Pablo and Fernande, his lady love in Paris. Just loved all the eccentric artist and expat crowd stories from Montmartre and side trips to Spain. Didn't feel "ended," so I'm hoping for the artist to cover the next important scenes in this amazing life in future volumes.
This was far more interesting for the story told about Picasso's model, lover, muse - Fernande Olivier. So often relegated to a name, or not named at all, her story reflects more about the context in which art was created in the period.
Of course, I expected that since I know nothing about Picasso's life, this book will help me find out details about his biography, so if you want the same thing, then this is not the book for it. However, this story tells us about a certain period of Picasso's life and helps us understand what kind of person he was, how he treated women and what was his daily life like. Many other famous artists are mentioned as well.
There's a separate story line about one of his models and lovers -- Fernanda Olivier. That's how we find out how women were treated these days and what kind of role they played in the lifes of people from a creative society. I'm glad the world has changed since then :)
The book is really expensive, but it's totally worth the money. After a few hours spent reading it, you'll feel like you've dived into the atmosphere of these times or watched a movie about it.
Цей комікс не стільки про творчий шлях Пікассо, скільки про його бурхливі стосунки з Фернандою Олів'є, його першою музою. Від імені Фернанди і написана (намальована?) книга. Це історія пристрасті, шаленого кохання та ревнощів, прощань та повернень, зрад і розлучень. Це історія про молодого Пікассо та богемну тусовку Парижа початку ХХ століття. Комікс 18+, тут багато сексу та "брудної білизни". Мені ж хотілося би більше дізнатися про творчість Пікассо, а не лише про його заздрість Матіссу.
This graphic biography of Picasso does what I imagine it was trying to do and it was exactly what I wanted. It does a really good job of placing the artist and his work in context. This volume focuses on a short period of his life, when he was beginning his career in Montparnasse/Montmartre among other visual artists and writers at the Bateau-Lavoir. That Bohemian ambiance is captured well. We are shown his story through the eyes of his lover Fernande. Realistically, her story is soon eclipsed by his. It was helpful that I have read other biographies of Picasso. I can see how this book would feel jumpy and confusing if you didn't have a sense of the artwork or the cast of contemporaries. Now I want to read more about Stein, Jacob, Matisse, Braque, Casagemas, Rousseau, Degas, and Apollinaire. I will definitely seek out other editions in this series. While this era is often romanticized (for its creativity and freedom from societal norms, for its sexual liberation), I like seeing the other side of the "starving artist" lifestyle. There was racism, untreated mental illness, violence in many forms, gender inequality, betrayal, drug addiction, and poverty/instability.
I was wandering our large county library in the YA section of graphic novels and jotted down some titles to read. I chose Pablo because he is one artist I know less about his life and more about his later work. This book is an incredibly work of art on its own with detailed panels that suck you into the early life of Picasso. What I did take away from this book was the seamy life Picasso lived. His passionate side contrasted with his narrow jealousy, his dalliances and drug use. I suppose one could say that the one fueled the other. I same away with less respect for him. I would also strongly suggest that this is an adult GRAPHIC novel, and not recommended for young adults.
The early years of Pablo Picasso told through the eyes of three influential figures in his life at the time. It helps to know that this is 4 separate volumes merged into one. That might account for jumpy feeling of narrative. I walked away from this book with strong sense of Picasso's mercurial and obsessive persona (sex! drugs! death!) and the lively and chaotic modern art scene in Paris. I had lots of trouble keeping straight the multitude of artists/influencers since as there were oh so many that came and went throughout the story. Wikipedia came in handy.
What a fun way to read about an artist. This graphic biography of Pablo Picasso tells the story of Picasso's early career and his model and lover Fernande. Picasso is living in Montmartre in Paris and his friends include other famous artists. Julie Birmant has written another biography about Van Gogh which I would also like to read.
Coming back from a holiday in Spain, I brought back two books on Picasso; one was The Illustrated Biography (Dosde Publishing) and the other was this one, Pablo: a 350 page comic book on the life of the artist, with magnificent drawings and beautiful watercolors. In Pablo, the story of Picasso is told from the perspective of Picasso’s first big love, Fernande Olivier – so the narration is mostly limited to the five years that they were together (plus a rushed account of the years leading up to that point, where more attention is given to the details of what was going on in Fernande’s life than Picasso's).
With some notable inconsistencies between The Illustrated Biography and Pablo, I was left wondering whether Fernande is meant to be an unreliable narrator, and even whether the choice of having her tell the story served as a rationale for distorting the events. The most notable contradiction was the nature of the relationship between Fernande and Picasso at first, where the womanizer Picasso is shown as being head over heels in love with Fernande who, on the other hand, doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. It felt like a trite cliché of a love story, with the lovesick Picasso chasing after the disinterested Fernande. While The Illustrated Biography doesn’t dwell long on how Picasso and Fernande got together, there is a quote from her about the first time they met: “This inner fire that could be perceived in him generated a kind of magnetism that I just couldn’t resist.” This seems like the complete opposite of the Fernande in the comic and her attitude towards Picasso. Then, with Fernande being the narrator in Pablo, she comes off as completely full of herself with lines like: “Pablo and I would make love. It was nice, but not out of this world… at least for me.” Or, after she has left Picasso: “To fill the hole that I had left, Pablo surrounded himself with friends.” Another notable inaccuracy of Pablo, judging from a comparison with The Illustrated Biography, is that when Picasso takes Fernande to Barcelona (where his parents were still living, while he resided with Fernande in Paris) in 1906, they become regulars in the Parisian-style tavern Le Quatre Gats, where Picasso had spent a lot of time when he was living in Barcelona; but according to The Illustrated Biography that tavern was closed down in 1903 (before Picasso had even met Fernande). With that, I have to wonder what else the author of Pablo might have gotten wrong.
There is very little focus on Picasso’s actual paintings, which felt like a wasted opportunity for a comic book on the artist. I had gotten excited about reading Pablo as I was going through The Illustrated Biography, and was curious to see what the artistic rendering of what I was reading there would be like, but I have to say that, despite the beautiful drawings, Pablo is mostly a letdown, and the main reason for that is the excessive focus on Fernande Olivier, and the effects that has on the story.
Beautifully illustrated graphic novel that covers the years 1900-1908 in Picasso’s life, from when he was a struggling 19-year-old artist in Paris, to when he began to break through, and with works such as Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), set the foundations for cubism and modern art. The novel is told from the perspective of Fernande Olivier, his beautiful muse, lover, and model, and we learn of her life story in this period as well. The novel brings out the bohemian lifestyle and personalities of the artists of the day – Braque, Derain, and of course Matisse, who he had an intense rivalry with. The social gatherings, Gertrude Stein and her crowd, and then Picasso’s legendary dinner party for Henri Rousseau, are fascinating.
Max Jacob, a poet and critic who recognized Picasso’s genius early on and supported him, comes across as a real hero, and I suppose artists need these types of people to survive. He introduced Picasso to writer Guillaume Apollinaire, and the scenes of the three of them walking around at night shooting off a pistol while shouting ‘Down with Laforgue! Viva Rimbaud!’ are memorable. While discussing the future on the final pages, the book somewhat strangely doesn’t mention that Apollinaire would die in the influenza pandemic in 1918 at the age of 38, and Jacob would die on his way to Auschwitz in 1944 – how terribly sad.
Some may criticize the book for focusing on a narrow window of Picasso’s life, or want more out of it, but I think it’s stronger as a result, as it allows more detail into these people’s lives, their feelings and motivations, and there is certainly enough here to keep it captivating. This was a book that was hard to put down, and I devoured it.
It was difficult to rate this book, because I really enjoyed and respect the illustrations, but didn't like the way the story was told. It's neat to have a narrator who was an important figure in Picasso's life, but the novel ends up being more about their relationship than about his life or work, so it seems a stretch to call it a biography. The authors also tell the story in vignettes, which many times led to characters being introduced very briefly, as if significant, and then never appearing again. The book ends in 1908, when Picasso is 27 years old. He lived to be 91—a long and prolific life for an artist born in the 19th century—why cut out so much of his story!??
From a visual standpoint, I'd give "Pablo" 4 stars. The illustrations are active, charming, and capture the feeling of the streets of Paris' Montmartre as a setting. They also represent Picasso's artwork well. As a novel, though, I have to give it 2, for being sporadic, and for spending pages on anecdotes and moments that don't impact the story (in this case, that of Picasso's life) while skimming or skipping over much more significant things, including the last 64 years of the artist's life. I was excited to find this book and am a little disappointed! Rather than "a biography of...", perhaps it should be described as "*stories from the life of* one of the world's best-loved artists."
'Pablo' is a biography of the artist Pablo Picasso told in graphic novel form. It details his life in France between 1900-1910, focusing on his love affair with model Fernande Olivier.
This is a tale of obsessive love, violent passion and possessive jealousy. It depicts the loose debauchery of Bohemian life among the artists of Montmartre. We see the development of Picasso's style and his fluctuating inspiration, influenced by friendships with inhabitants of the art world (Max Jacobs, Guillaume Apollinaire & Gertrude Stein to name drop a few).There is evidence of his rivalry with Matisse, although this story line falls a little flat.
Overall, the first half of the narrative was more intriguing and consistent than the second. The plot seemed to vacillate toward the end, climaxing with his controversial painting Les Demoiselles D'Avignon and the invention of cubism...then abruptly ending without much warning. I was ultimately a little disappointed, though appreciated the insight into this period of Picasso's life. - Rating: 🎨 🎨🎨 - the illustrations, though at times too explicit for my taste, were excellently done, thus 3 stars instead of 2.
I picked up Pablo hoping for a biography, some illustrated nonfiction for a change of pace. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that its scope would be so narrow; Pablo follows its namesake through his first years in Paris and ends abruptly after his completion of Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Moreover, it is a good example of poor storytelling. The characters are often hard to tell apart, the narrative is choppy and all over the place, and a story that has everything going for it - drugs, sex, bohemian Paris, the young life of arguably the most famous artist in the world - becomes so boring it almost begs to be abandoned. A particular qualm of mine when reading this book concerned the translation, which was done so poorly. Not having seen the original version in French, I can't say for sure what liberties the translator took, but the resulting modern style of speech (so many unnecessary contractions, including ain't) does nothing to service its depiction of that time period. Great cover and enticing premise, but not recommendable at all for someone trying to learn about the life of Picasso.
Really more like 3.5 stars. The art was nice and earned it an extra half star. But… eh.
The story was sort of wandering, and in the end, not all that interesting. I don’t think I really understand Picasso any better than I did before, or what made him tick, or how he developed his style. I mostly learned that plenty of folks in early-19th-century Paris were jerks. And there was a lot of sex.
The idea behind the book was sort of interesting: it was told from the point of view of one of his lovers/muses/models. So for a while, there were parallel stories--hers and his. Frankly her story was more interesting. An orphan not well-cared for by an aunt, she ran away with a man who treated her poorly. Eventually, she ran away from him, and earned money modeling. Then she met Picasso and… umm… they had a stormy relationship. He was a struggling artist. Until he wasn’t.
That’s about it, but in 300 pages with some interesting drawings. I had a lot of trouble keeping track of the characters. Maybe that’s on me? I guess Matisse and Picasso were (artistic) rivals in some sense, but the book more just stated that rather than showing it.
GLORIOUS PENWORK AND COLOUR. Comics are a visual medium first and foremost and this book has exceptionally fine draughtmaship. detail and colour (Sanda Desmazieres deserved a cover credit for this). You fall in and swim around in it. The story can be a bit choppy and repetitive (how many drunken poets can we take) and you need to do a bit of to and fro and wikipedia to follow it but the dialogue is strong and the translation fresh and colloquial. Of course it also shows Picasso to be a sexist creep and the heroine Fernande to be a narcissist..which is fair enough. The main failing is that it doesn't do enough to foreground ot show the art of Picasso and his colleagues -after all isn't the whole point of doing a GRAPHIC novel that you can integrate art and text? That being said I thoroughly enjoyed it so it still gets 5 stars.
I didn't have as much trouble following along as others did but I found myself disappointed in the story overall. The decision to focus on a relatively small sliver of Picasso's resulted in the author taking a lot of liberties in the story telling. In the end it feels too long for what it is. Also the book covers the Blue and African Periods which were both very fruitful time for Picasso but you wouldn't know if from reading this volume. The focus is on the relationships, particularly with Fernande and only really begins highlighting his work as Picasso's notoriety and fame increases, culminating with early reactions to Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.
Spory kawałek komiksowego mięcha. Obraz wczesnego okresu kariery Picassa przedstawiony w malarskich kadrach nie nudzi ani przez chwilę, do czego przyczynia się też narracja z perspektywy kochanki i muzy artysty - Fernande. Paryska bohema początku XX w. to cała paleta bardzo kolorowych postaci i ten komiks bardzo dobrze to oddaje. Ukazanie bohaterów z krwi i kości, pełnych sprzeczności, ekspresji i słabości to największe wyzwanie, jakie stanęło przed autorami komiksu i udało się w 100%. To nie jest bryk z życia wielkiego wizjonera sztuki, zaledwie fragment, ale tak pełny i ciekawy, że naprawdę wystarczy na długo.