Paris Post War: Art and existentialism 1945-55

PABLO PICASSO, the Spaniard: the greatest, obviously, despite the fact that every one says this and they are all philistines. A great power and intellect and an extraordinary facility of execution. Works as well with figures as objects, as easily with the abstract as the concrete. Lionhearted, constantly re-invigorating himself, never drying up. The advocate of destruction, of the smashing of windows and skulls. A rebel but not a revolutionary. For passion and hatred but not for love. For intelligence more than anyone but not for wisdom and the affected, for rapidity and thunderous effect. A gossip, jealous, mischievous, conceited, surrounding himself with painters of no importance: his palette-lickers. I admire rather than like him but, fortunately, I owe him very little.

Basically, a great painter,

against the tradition which must be opposed.

From Journal d'un Peintre; Carnets 1929-62 by Jean Helion (Maeght, Paris 1993)

(Photograph omitted)