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About the book
  • Published: 1 February 2009
  • ISBN: 9781845951290
  • Imprint: Pimlico
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 608
  • RRP: $65.00

A Life Of Picasso Volume III

The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932

The magisterial third volume in John Richardson's Prize-winning life of the great artist

Drawing on exhaustive research from interviews and unpublished archival material, John Richardson has produced the long-awaited third volume of the definitive biography, full of original, groundbreaking new insights into Picasso’s life and work. His lively and incisive analysis of the work meshes seamlessly with the rich and detailed narrative of this complex and sensual life. The Triumphant Years reveals Picasso at the height of his powers, producing not only the costumes and sets for such Diaghilev Ballets Russes productions as Parade and Tricorne but some of his most important sculpture and paintings. These are tumultuous years, Picasso torn between marital respectability with Olga, the Russian ballerina who was his first wife, and the erotic passion of his mistress, Marie-Therese.

Rome and Naples would inspire the classicism in Picasso’s work of the early twenties and Richardson reveals how the mercurial, witty Cocteau introduced him to the aristocratic and artistic world of Paris, including the de Noailles art patrons who backed the surrealist films of Buñuel and Dali. Picasso was amused by Tristan Tzara and the Dadaists but resisted the advances of André Breton and the Surrealists. Sara and Gerald Murphy, whom he met in the south of France, would introduce him to Hemingway and Fitzgerald.

With The Triumphant Years, Richardson has written a masterful and compelling biography full of valuable and intriguing research about the most important artist of the twentieth century.

  • Pub date: 1 February 2009
  • ISBN: 9781845951290
  • Imprint: Pimlico
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 608
  • RRP: $65.00

About the Author

John Richardson

John Richardson was born in London in 1924. He studied art at the Slade School but soon gave up painting for art criticism. In 1949 he moved to France, where he lived for the next twelve years, befriending Picasso, Braque, Léger, and Cocteau. In the early 1960s Richardson moved to New York, where he was appointed head of Christie's US operation, and eventually became a full-time writer and editor. He has published books on Manet and Braque and is a contributor to The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair. The first volume of A Life of Picasso, covering the years 1881-1906, was published in 1991 and won the Whitbread Prize. The second volume of A Life of Picasso, covering the years 1907-1917, was published in 1996.

In 1993 Richardson was made a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. In 1994-95 he served as the Slade Professor of Art at Oxford. Currently he divides his time between Connecticut and New York City, where is working on the third and fourth volumes of A Life of Picasso.

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Praise for A Life Of Picasso Volume III

“No man is better qualified to write the biography of Picasso...he writes with such fluency, simplicity and clarity that his knowledge and illuminating wisdom are very lightly borne...marvellous book”

Brian Sewell, Evening Standard

“Every page provides some insightful and fascinating information”

William Boyd, 'Books of the Year', Sunday Herald

“Unmissably good”

Tim Martin, 'Christmas Biography Choice' Daily Telegraph

“The most striking aspect of this surefooted account is the link that Richardson shows between the women in Picasso's life and the direction of his art”

New Statesman

“I love this tumultuous, mercurial, idiosyncratic cavalcade of a book... It is a book that manages to be simultaneously individual and authoritative, and makes one impatient for the next volume”

Philip Hensher, Daily Telegraph

“Out of the detail the man Picasso emerges, as startling as a character in any good novel...it is glorious to read the story of an artist which does not make the sins count for more than the paintings, does not forget the life while theorising the paintings to dust. Richardson is writing the life of Picasso without ever forgetting the point of him”

Michael Pye, Scotsman

“A monumental life of Picasso”

Independent on Sunday

“The latest instalment of the finest artistic biography ever written”

Waldemar Januszczak, Sunday Times

“Richardson's argument, cogent, witty and persuasive, backed up by prodigious research and sumptuous illustrations, makes this herculean biography increasingly harsh, tough and uncomfortable to read”


“Gossipy, profound, insightful and non-judgmental, Richardson is terrific company. This volume joins its predecessors as unrivalled among artists' biographies”

Financial Times

“Richardson, a magisterial writer, brilliant critic and deliriously funny raconteur, is a unique, dazzling match for his subject”

Financial Times

“A colossal undertaking that has taken almost his whole life and will enrich yours forever”

The Spectator

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