Picasso and the Allure of Language


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Susan Greenberg Fisher; With Mary Ann Caws, Jennifer R. Gross, Patricia Leighten, Irene Small, S. Zelda Roland, and Katherine M. Wyman

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A revealing investigation into Picasso's career-long fascination with the written word

Throughout his life, Pablo Picasso had close friendships with writers and an abiding interest in the written word. This groundbreaking book, which draws on the collections of Yale University, traces the relationship that Picasso had with literature and writing in his life and work.

Beginning with the artist’s early associations with such writers as Gertrude Stein, Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, and Pierre Reverdy, the book continues until the postwar period, by which time Picasso had become a worldwide celebrity. Distinguished authorities in art and literature explore the theme of Picasso and language from historical, linguistic, and visual perspectives and contextualize Picasso’s work within a rich literary framework. Presenting fascinating archival materials and written in an accessible style, Picasso and the Allure of Language is essential reading for anyone interested in this great artist and the history of modernism.   

Published in association with the Yale University Art Gallery

Exhibition Schedule:

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven (January 27 – May 24, 2009)

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham (August 20, 2009 – January 3, 2010)

Susan Greenberg Fisher is the Horace W. Goldsmith Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery.


Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven (January 27 – May 24, 2009)

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham (August 20, 2009 – January 3, 2010)

"[The] catalogue contains an introduction by Susan Greenberg Fisher; essays that probe Picasso's lifelong relationship to writers and writing by Mary Ann Caws, and extended catalogue entries that present new scholarship on select objects from the exhibition by modern-art scholars."—Artdaily

“Despite the author’s best efforts, extracts from Picasso’s own writings explain why his literary career has been neglected…However, Patricia Leighton highlights stream of consciousness as a major literary influence…[and the book] reveal[s] Picasso as more susceptible to external influences and pressures than perhaps he would have liked anyone to know.” — Estella Shardlow, The Art Newspaper

“…a stylish book that is a must for fans of the Spanish master.” — Artists and Illustrators

"Picasso and the Allure of Language is a crucial starting point for understanding [that writing and drawing are the same act] in the artist's work and serves as a unique introduction to many of his most celebrated pieces."—Stefanie Sobelle, Bookforum

'This is an exceptionally thorough volume: original in insight and engagingly written.' — Max Fletcher, Burlington Magazine

Runner up for the the award for Outstanding Exhibition Catalogue, given by the Association of Art Museum Curators

Winner of the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Award Silver Medal in the National Category for Fine Art, given by Independent Publisher Online
ISBN: 9780300135466
Publication Date: February 24, 2009
Publishing Partner: Published in association with the Yale University Art Gallery
272 pages, 7 1/2 x 10
56 b/w + 155 color illus.
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