Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 – Book Review

by FrancesSpiegel

1901 was a crucial year for Pablo Picasso. Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 discusses key events and looks at how his artistic career developed during this pivotal year.

The book takes a close look at events in 1901, a crucial year in Pablo Picasso's artistic development. How did the death of his close friend Casagemas affect him? How did his participation in Ambroise Vollard's Paris exhibition help launch his career? How did his style change during the course of 1901.

Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 has been published by The Courtauld Gallery in association with Paul Holberton Publishing. The book is edited by Barnaby Wright, Daniel Katz Curator of 20th Century Art at The Courtauld.

Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901

The Courtauld Gallery in Association with Paul Holberton Publishing
Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 – Book Review
Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 – Book R...
Becoming Picasso Paris 1901 The Court...

1901 – A Momentous Year for Picasso

In 1901 Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was an ambitious nineteen-year-old artist hoping to make a name for himself in the art world. He spent the first half of the year in Madrid before moving to Paris in May to participate in an exhibition with Ambroise Vollard, one of the city's most influential modern art dealers.

When Picasso left Madrid he took just a few paintings with him. Between his arrival in Paris and the opening of the exhibition, a period of about three weeks, he produced more than 60 works, often completing as many as three canvasses in a day. His output, truly prolific, demonstrated his ability to absorb the influences of many of the artists he admired including Van Gogh, Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Becoming Picasso... – About the Catalogue

The Courtauld exhibition brought together many of Picasso's very first masterpieces. This 160-page catalogue is an enduring record of the exhibition featuring more than 100 excellent colour reproductions accompanied by fascinating texts from leading Picasso specialists. The authors outline the artist's many stylistic twists and turns looking specifically at how the death of his very close friend Casagemas affected his art as well as how his participation in the Vollard exhibition helped launch his very successful career.

Contents of the Catalogue

The publication is set out in two main sections: the first features scholarly yet highly enjoyable texts as follows:


  • Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 An Introduction – Barnaby Wright
  • Picasso's Artistic Practice in 1901 – Marilyn McCully
  • Incipit Picasso: From The Birth of Tragedy to The Burial of Casagemas – Gavin Parkinson
  • The Formation of Genius – C. F. B. Miller


The second part of the book catalogues all the works appearing in the exhibition. Each painting is accompanied by a detailed discussion and examination of Picasso's technique by Barnaby Wright with additional texts by Sandra Boks.

Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 – A Fine Gift

Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 will make a beautiful gift for Picasso enthusiasts and modern art lovers. Priced at £30, the book is excellent value for money. Buy directly from The Courtauld Gallery, Paul Holberton Publishing and all good book stores, ISBN: 978 1 907372 45 2.


The exhibition, Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901, can be seen from 14th February – 26th May 2013. Further information is available from The Courtauld Gallery.


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Updated: 11/10/2013, FrancesSpiegel
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JoHarrington on 02/25/2013

I did not know that! I sense that the bottle is destined to remain unopened too. :)

FrancesSpiegel on 02/21/2013

Did you know Picasso actually designed labels for wine bottles? We've got an unopened bottle bearing the last label he designed just before his death in 1973.

dustytoes on 02/21/2013

I honestly don't know much about Picasso, but I can't imagine completing three paintings in one day!

JoHarrington on 02/21/2013

You don't think of Picasso being around as early as 1901, do you? Well, more to the point, I don't!

It sounds like an interesting exhibition.

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