Dec 2, 2011

REVIEW | PICASSO ON ART: A Selection of Views, Dore Ashton (Ed.), Da Capo Press, 1972

Picasso On Art: A Selection of Views, Dore Ashton (Ed.), 1972

In "Picasso On Art", Dore Ashton collaborates with many of Picasso's dearest friends and close acquaintances to bring together some of Picasso's different philosophies on art and life, as well as a variety of techniques and influences that had an affect on him and his work. All of the testimonies created by people that really didn't know him were thrown out. Many people don't think of Picasso as their first thought when the words contemporary art are shouted out. Most of this is because of his death in the early seventies and people's tendency to try and leave the past behind. But history repeats itself, and most artist would agree that he was way ahead of his time. Picasso still has a lasting effect on many young contemporary artist.
In fact, in a article in The New York Times named "Picasso Shines, Contemporary Artist Don't", Carol Vogel spoke about how Picasso was outselling every other artist at auctions, and if he didn't, it was only because they were too expensive. So, is Picasso's work still valid today? I would say that the proof is in the pudding.

This book is a great book for contemporary artist, as well as anyone who wants to understand art better. In one chapter aptly named "Understanding Art", Picasso says, "Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the songs of a bird? Why does one love the night, flowers, everything around one, without trying to understand them? But in the case of a painting people have to understand." This rang true to me because I often think that art's true essence and intention can somewhat get lost in people trying to come up with one explanation for an artwork.

Picasso was more than just a painter. He worked in many different medias and produced more than 22,000 works in his lifetime. But not only was he an artist, he also was a great thinker.This is probably one of the most important aspects of his personality and one of the main reasons of why he became so popular. We sense the emotion behind the work, and we change as he changed. He also played a part in helping create different artist trends, such as cubism and collage. People of all different races, ages, and classes love to look at a Picasso. As strange as the image may look at first glance, there is still a connection.

It is important in our lives that when we come across something that looks a little strange or makes us feel a wee bit uncomfortable to not run but to seek understanding. Sometimes it is the shadows of ourselves that we tend to not recognize. Picasso helps us to bridge that gap. In the introduction of this book, one of Picasso's friends, a fellow artist, Roland Penrose helps explain why this book is so important. He says, "As you listen you realize that Picasso appreciates that truth is never easily accessible. Direct statements imply falsehoods too often for them to be trusted. The truth can be better understood by subtle maneuvers which catch it alive instead of trampling it to death." I believe that the closer that we get to the truth, the better we will understand ourselves as well as others. This is why this book and this man are still valid.

-Sam Williams


  1. As an aspiring artist willing and wanting to continue on growing the description of this book has definitely caught my attention. Sensing the emotion behind him work, art did changed with him verses him going with the flow. His styles continued to evolve as he matured and painted what was relevant to his nature and surrounding. This is exactly the type of artist and mentor who sits valid with my outlook on art.

    -Liliane Ledesma

  2. I wish you had made this a little longer with some more depth on the book. It seems intriguing and interesting, but I feel like you were just scratching the ice.

    - Erin Davis