Picasso and Photography
The Dark MirrorBook - 1997
The extent to which photography influenced the work of Pablo Picasso is now considered by scholars to be of great importance in the understanding of the artist's entire oeuvre. Linked to a major exhibition, this beautifully illustrated books present a unique view into Picasso's relationship with the photographic arts. The presence in his personal estate of several thousand photographic images, donated to the French government upon his death, prompted this study and bears powerful witness to the artist's versatility and imaginative depth. The collection featured here includes nineteenth-century portraits, postcards featuring colonial themes or ethnic groups in regional dress, as well as portraits, self-portraits and studio views taken by Picasso himself. Already at the turn of the century, they contributed to the artist's figurative expression as well as to his major cubist interpretations. The artist commanded a wealth of themes, styles, and media over his long and productive career, and he explored drawing, painting, and sculpture. His voracious appetite for experimentation led him to push the medium to unorthodox extremes, both stylistically and technically. The range of Picasso's photographic production comprises a variety of forms and techniques and resulted in independent works of art: superimposed photographs, clichÉ-verres, photo-based engravings, photograms and original drawings on photographs, slides, collages, and photographic cutouts. His collaborations with other artists such as Dora Maar, BrassaÏ, Gjon Mili, and AndrÉ Villers reveal a playful inventiveness, and demonstrate his ability to push photography in unexpected directions. The works featured in this study provide new insight into Picasso's creative world. An outstanding text by Anne Baldassari makes a major contribution to Picasso scholarship by examining what could be the last unknown area of the artist's work.