This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the beginning of a dauntingly ambitious project: the 1991 publication of John Richardson’s A Life of Picasso: Volume I, 1881–1906. The second volume, The Painter of Modern Life, 1907–1917, followed in 1996, with The Triumphant Years, 1917–1932 appearing in 2007. (The first two volumes, written in collaboration with the Picasso scholar Marilyn McCully, are subtitled The Prodigy and The Cubist Rebel in subsequent editions.) The long gaps between books were occasioned by Richardson’s having to write saleable memoirs of his remarkable career to finance A Life. Impressively researched and copiously illustrated with vintage...


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