PICASSO PLAIN by Helene Parmelin


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Picasso has always attracted and been attracted by the gaga and grotesque, both in and out of canvas, and both and in and out of print. In print, currently, is Helene Parmelin's random and randomly revealing day-by-day recalls of the years she and her husband spent at Vallauris, la Californie and Vauvenargues, three of the famed painter's famous homes. Writing with a sort of hard-edge impressionism- the syntax is breathless, the gossip gritty and giddy by turns. Mme.Parmelin's collage- candid portrait offers scraps of Picasso's dreams, Picasso's guests (Gary Cooper, for one), Picasso as savant, as husband and father, Don Pablo at the bullfights, Picasso sketching doves for a Communist fete (the author's a CP member), and Picasso, and a goat. It's all intimate, inconsistent, up-in-the-air, and fairly fun, with an occasional pithy phrase: Cocteau as a ""death's head with a tie"". Of course, Picasso ""one cannot 'explain'""; Mme. Parmelin's intellectus, a hybridization of Elsa Maxwell and Gertrude Stein, is pretty inexplicable, too: ""He likes only painters (while liking everyone else) and while not liking them"". Incidentally, the book's original French title was Picasso sur la place. Mais pourquoi pas Picasso sur le oucou?

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 1963
Publisher: St. Martin's Press