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picasso's witticisms

Post #361 • September 7, 2004, 6:11 AM

Last Sunday at the used bookstore I found a gem: an old edition of Picasso's sayings about art, compiled by Dore Ashton, for four bucks. I knew Picasso had a wit but I didn't realize that one could fill a book with his witticisms. He contradicted himself often, seemingly with glee. But like a grenade that explodes in all directions and will surely strike something nearby, he landed some zingers.

If I stick three pieces of wood on a poster and if I say: that's painting, it's not freedom, in what way is it freedom? It's a matter of doing any old thing with three pieces of wood. ... If there's a single freedom in what one does, it's the freeing of something within oneself. And even that doesn't last.

The following resembles things that Balthus said:

What I find horrible nowadays is that people are always trying to find a personality for themselves. Nobody bothers about what you might call a painter's ideal... the kind that's always existed (I say ideal because that's what comes nearest to it). No. They couldn't care less about that.

All they're trying to do is to make the world a present of their personality. It's horrible.

Besides, if you're trying to find something, it means you haven't got it. And if you find it simply by looking for it, that means it's false.
[To a painter who asked if figure painting was still possible after photography:] On the contrary, it seems to me that it is only possible now. Now we know at least everything that painting isn't.
Paintings have always been made as princes made their children: with shepherdesses. One never makes a protrait of the Parthenon; one never paints a Louis XV chair. One makes paintings with a village of the midi, a package of tobacco, an old chair.

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