John Richardson (1924–2019) was a curator, art historian, and author of a multivolume biography of Pablo Picasso.


A Different Guernica

Gernika, 1937: The Market Day Massacre

by Xabier Irujo
In 1992, I interviewed my old friend Dora Maar, a talented photographer, who had witnessed and documented the making of Guernica. Picasso had told her: “I know I am going to have terrible problems with this painting, but I am determined to do it—we have to arm for the war to come.”

Picasso’s Broken Vow

Pablo Picasso: Blind Minotaur, 1934–1935
To understand Picasso’s major works of the early 1930s we must go back to his youth at La Coruña, on Spain’s north Atlantic coast, where his father, Don José, was director of the local art school.

How Political Was Picasso?

 Pablo Picasso: Jeux de Pages, 1951. John Richardson writes that ‘that was how he saw war, Picasso told a group of friends in March 1959: medieval children playing nasty, medieval games.’  All images are © 2010 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Picasso: Peace and Freedom

an exhibition at Tate Liverpool, May 21–August 30, 2010; the Albertina, Vienna, September 22, 2010–January 16, 2011; and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark, February 11–May 29, 2011

Morir en Madrid

by Louis Delaprée, edited by Martin Minchom
Asked where he stood politically in the years leading up to the Spanish civil war, Picasso would answer that since he was a Spaniard and Spain was a monarchy, he was a royalist. D.H. Kahnweiler, his dealer and close friend, and a lifelong socialist, asserted that Picasso was the most apolitical man he had ever met: “His Communism is quite unpolitical. He has never read a line of Karl Marx, nor of Engels of course. His Communism is sentimental…. He once said to me, ‘Pour moi, le Parti Communiste est le parti des pauvres.'”

Bacon Agonistes

Francis Bacon: A Centenary Exhibition

an exhibition at Tate Britain, London, September 11, 2008–January 4, 2009, the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, February 3–April 19, 2009, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, May 20–August 16, 2009
To celebrate Francis Bacon’s centenary in 2009, Tate Britain mounted a retrospective exhibition that was subsequently shown at the Prado in Madrid and the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Bacon’s theater of cruelty was an enormous popular success at all of its venues, but especially in New York, where he …

The Great Forgotten Modernist

Braque: The Late Works 6, 1997, and the Menil Collection, Houston, Texas, April 25-August 31, 1997

An exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, January 23-April

Braque: The Late Works

by John Golding and Sophie Bowness and Isabelle Monod-Fontaine
Once the epitome of the British establishment, the Royal Academy dumbfounded the old guard some years ago by pioneering the rehabilitation of late Picasso. The Royal Academy is now courageously doing the same for late Braque, in a superb display of several dozen of his pictures of the 1940s and …

Faking Picasso

Surviving Picasso

a film directed by James Ivory, produced by Ismail Merchant
In abandoning India and Anglo-Indian subjects, Ismail Merchant and James Ivory lost the dry and delicate touch that made Shakespeare Wallah and Heat and Dust so memorable. However, they have gained a vast following with glossy films of E.M. Forster’s low-key novels, in which they vulgarize the issues and overdecorate …