Paris Post War: Art and Exitentialism 1945-55: Every day during this exhibition at the Tate Gallery, the Independent is running a short extract from letters, reportage and diaries of the period

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The Independent Online
'Thursday, November 28, 1946

Picasso: I'm terribly sorry to have upset your morning, but I have to go out. I have an urgent appointment. Could you come back tomorrow? I really want very much to work on those paper sculptures with you. I was looking at them the other day, against the light of the sun, and it was marvelous. They were as translucid as alabaster . . . (Picasso goes out, then comes back.) Where is my beret] I only have one. If I lose it, or misplace it . . . Before the war, it didn't matter, you went into a shop and bought another one. But now? Tell me, Sabartes, can you still find berets in the shops?

I ask him if the little bronze bust of Dora Maar has been returned from the foundry where it was being cast.

Picasso, slightly troubled: Yes, it came back. But a very annoying accident happened. I wanted to give it a patina, and I completely ruined it. I've been wondering if I can still save it. But Dora has a copy of exactly the same bust. Go to see her. I'll call and tell her you're coming.'

From Picasso & Co, by Brassai, Thames & Hudson 1967