Cover image for The ultimate Picasso
The ultimate Picasso
Léal, Brigitte.
Personal Author:
English-language edition.
Publication Information:
New York : H.N. Abrams, [2000]

Physical Description:
535 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 32 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND553.P5 L344413 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



This sumptuous work covers in one volume all the periods of Pablo Picasso's long, incredibly versatile career.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Can we exhaust the visual pleasure we derive from looking at Picasso's work? Can another book on Picasso offer anything more about this twentieth-century artist that we have not learned from the others (see Geoffroy-Schneiter above)? In the preface, Jean Leymarie recalls Picasso boasting that "a book would have to be written on him every day to keep up with his rhythm and his surges of creativity." All we can conclude is that this book is the ultimate. It combines all the periods of his career and touts having "nearly" every significant work he ever created in its 1,235 illustrations. Leal writes the essays in the first section on the early years, 1881^-1916. This leisurely paced section certainly teaches things about Picasso that many will find fresh and involving, and throughout the extensive illustration program makes it easier to trace the development of the painter's ideas. Discovering the change in 1906 that points the way to the Picasso we moderns know well is quite satisfying. --Bonnie Smothers

Library Journal Review

For those who believe that enough books have been published on the master, consider Picasso's claim that a book would have to be written every day in order to encompass his innovations completely. Two catalogues raisonns and one "ultimate" overview highlight this season's bounty of Picasso monographs. In the comprehensive catalog of Picasso's lithographic oeuvre, prints are presented as an important part of Picasso explorations from the time of his first lithograph in 1919. In the book's main text, Erich Franz (In Quest of the Absolute, Peter Blum, 1996) offers a convincing if brief examination of Picasso's personal affinity for printmaking. Franz emphasizes the visual processes we experience when taking in an image, pointing out that a "fundamental difference between the print and the drawing is that the print exhibits greater pictorial homogeneity." Indeed, Picasso was interested in our ability to "tell that the image has been applied to the paper as a whole, in a single motionDas a print." The catalog portion gathers the artist's 855 lithographs for the first time, offering most in quite large, full-color reproductions on heavy paper. The book concludes with an interview with lithographer and Picasso collaborator Henri Deschamps. A fine addition to large and medium art collections. Labeled a "well-kept secret" by SpiesDPicasso wasn't officially recognized as a sculptor until the first retrospective in 1966DPicasso's sculptural body of work, like his painterly innovations, remains extraordinarily influential. His use of everyday materials and even refuse, the importance of the figure, and his affinity for what was considered folk art are hallmarks of his long engagement with the form. To coincide with the 2000 exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Spies revised the text of his 1971 book Picasso: Das Plastische Werk and combined it with an expanded version of the 1983 catalogue raisonn. The official 800-piece catalog is presented in small black-and-white images in the back of the book. But a wealth of large, fine color reproductions accompanies the analytical text, made up of nearly 60 essays examining topics ("Mask and Formal Variation") and individual pieces ("Seated Woman of 1902"). Spies's scholarship here is impeccable, drawing attention to the artist's highly experimental works. Essential for large art collections and recommended for medium art collections. The Ultimate Picasso aims to impress with its over 430 lavishly illustrated pages detailing the progress of his life and works. Picasso scholars Brigitte Lal, Christine Piot, and Bernadac divide up his life in three sections. On the whole, the emphasis is squarely on painting, and even many major works are given but a small paragraph. The authors are striving for an accessible overview rather than detailed scholarship, and their comprehensiveness is impressive; readers of all levels will be rewarded. An enchanting photographic chronology of the artist's life, a detailed list of the 1185 illustrations, a rather dated bibliography, and a skimpy index round out the book. The goal of this volume appears to be to eliminate the need for shelves full of Picasso books, and small to medium general libraries in need of an up-to-date analysis will be satisfied with this offering. But even large general collections and art libraries will find this to be a useful addition.DDoug McClemont, New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-A rich source of information by three eminent scholars, each with expertise in the early, middle, and late stages of the artist's career. Their essays detail events in Picasso's life and the circumstances surrounding the creation of his art, his influences, and world events. This lavish, handsome book contains more than 1200 reproductions, nearly 800 in full color. Young adults might especially enjoy the amazing freedom and variety of styles for inspiration in their own artistic creations and will find source material for research on one of the icons of our time.-Turid Teague, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The authors of this large and handsome book are among the leading experts of today in the field of Picasso studies. Leal is curator of the Picasso Museum in Paris, Piot is coauthor of the catalogue raisonne of Picasso's sculpture, and Bernadac is the former curator of the Musee Picasso in Paris (as well as the present curator of the Musee Nationale d'Art Moderne, Paris). Each writer takes a section of Picasso's career and writes in an engaging, seemingly effortless manner, adhering to the general theme that Picasso's works of any given period tell a great deal about what he was experiencing in his personal life at that time. There is nothing new in this approach, nor is there any new information about Picasso in this book. But it is written in such a manner that both scholars and casual readers will be drawn in to the constant drama that was Picasso's life. The endnotes are very brief and may be frustrating to scholars, but there is a good bibliography and a chronology, and more than 1200 illustrations throughout (most of them in color). Highly recommended for general readers and undergraduates. M. W. Sullivan; Villanova University