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Missing Picasso

In response to:

Your Show of Shows from the July 17, 1980 issue

To the Editors:

Your critic John Richardson incautiously writes in a review of recent Picasso publications that Daix’s Catalogue of Paintings of the Cubist Years is “a reliably accurate work of reference.” Personal experience has shown me that this statement is as fallacious as the book itself. For several months, I have tried in vain to use this supposedly scientific volume as a definitive work of reference, and now I can confidently assert that the editing is both irresponsible and chaotic. The dates assigned to individual works are not only often wrong, but also frequently inconsistent with those assigned to others; the grouping of pictures is confused, confusing, and often illogical; much of the information provided is often false, incomplete or unreliable; many easily accessible and known authentic works have not been included. Students of Picasso’s work should thus beware of accepting as definitive anything they read in Daix’s Catalogue, which is more up-to-date and more pretentious than Zervos’s photographic compendium, but does not supersede it.

Douglas Cooper

Monte Carlo, Monaco

John Richardson replies:

By questioning some ten of Daix and Rosselet’s entries on the grounds of authenticity or date (the NYR did not have room for more), I surely established my point that their catalogue of Picasso’s cubist work is not without “blemishes.” Cooper, on the other hand, makes no attempt to substantiate his charges with chapter and verse. In the circumstances we must assume that he will publish his criticisms in another journal.

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