Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Pablo Picasso on art

EDIT: Apparently this quote is apocryphal. Thanks to Harriet coleman for her correction, in the comment section.

"In art the mass of people no longer seeks consolation and exaltation, but those who are refined, rich, unoccupied, who are distillers of quintessence’s, seek what is new, strange, original, extravagant, scandalous. I myself, since Cubism and before, have satisfied these masters and critics with all the changing oddities which passed through my head, and the less they understand me, the more they admired me. By amusing myself with all these games, with all these absurdities, puzzles, rebuses, arabesques, I became famous and that very quickly. And fame for a painter means sales, gains, fortunes, riches. And today, as you know, I am celebrated, I am rich. But when I am alone with myself, I have not the courage to think of myself as an artist in the great and ancient sense of the term. Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt were great painters. I am only a public entertainer who has understood his times and exploited as best he could the imbecility, the vanity, the cupidity of his contemporaries. Mine is a bitter confession, more painful than it may appear, but it has the merit of being sincere."

Pablo Picasso (Interview with Giovanni Papini in Libro Nero, 1952)


harriet coleman said...

I have looked into this and this is what seems to be the turth:

The Picasso quote comes from a satirical book of imaginary interviews with famous people, called Il Libro Nero, by Giovanni Papini, published in 1952.

In 1969 Life magazine published an apology fro having published the quotation at face value (this can be found on Google Books but the URL is very long so I do not include it here)(search for "It was the fabrication of an Italian writer, Giovanni Papini")

Wikipedia has a bio. of Papini

Ocean said...

Well spotted, and thank you! And wow, 17 years have passed since I posted this.

I'll edit it with a comment at the beginning.