Ambled about Montmartre again. Revisited the Moreau Musée, and mused on the passage of time at the Musée des Arts et Métiers, and then onto the Picasso Musée. I like very few Picasso paintings: The Saltimbanques, Three Musicians, Girl at the Mirror, Guernica. He enjoyed painting women as monsters, which for him they were. Mostly, I do not like Picasso's pretentious, artificial, look at me style, probably because it hits too close to home. His most honest paintings are of circus clowns because he was one, and he said so: Titian, Rembrandt, and Goya were the great painters. I am only a public clown.

Picasso :: Last Engravings

Picasso copied everyone according to the old maxim: talent imitates, genius steals. Compare Robert Crumb's early 60's cartoons to Picasso's late 60's etchings — as seen above from his 347 Engravings or Suite 156. (Notice especially that goofy guy and couple.) These drawings, engraved in his last five years from 1968 to 1973, are not executed in his usually affected style, partially because of the speed at which they were actualized; Picasso did not allow himself time to think of the next stroke — act and thought were simultaneous. This may not be easy to see unless you have done a little drawing on your own. Like a spring unwinding rapidly after decades of compression, an old man scribbles like a child the acts that neither can perform, a clown goes somersaulting and rides high on the flying trapeze — lively outbursts of an old fool reminiscing wisely on folly. These drawings follow the aesthetics of zen: spontaneous, natural, and oddly tranquil. Picasso does not perform for the public as usual, but attempts to complete his mission in life: to see the world as a little child with the meditation of an ancient voyeur. An oxymoron? An impossibility? Every human life seeks its own self-contradictory myth, but, then, aren't all myths self-contradictory?


This evening, Maxime & his sigother introduced me to couscous in an offbeat Algerian café; then chaffeured me through the lights of Paris. Ahhh... Such scenes branded into my memory, but not mine alone, nor for this moment alone, but for many, past and future.