God Is Really Only Another Artist. He Invented the Giraffe, the Elephant, and the Cat. He Has No Real Style

Pablo Picasso? Françoise Gilot? Carlton Lake? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The famous Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso contemplated the dissimilarity of the animals created by God, e.g., the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He concluded that God had no consistent style. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: The artist Françoise Gilot was the lover and muse of Pablo Picasso between 1943 and 1953. During this period they had two children together. In 1964 Gilot published a memoir titled “Life with Picasso”. The art critic Carlton Lake was her co-author, and he wrote about the accuracy of her memories in the foreword to the book: 1

Throughout our work on it, I have been continuously impressed by her demonstration of the extent to which that much abused term “total recall” can be literally true. Françoise knows exactly what she said, what Pablo said, every step of the way for the ten years and more that they spent together. The direct quotations from Picasso are exactly that.

Early in their relationship Gilot visited Picasso, and he showed her a large album of his prints which included images of sculptures. Picasso commented on the diversity of styles displayed within his prints. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 2

He doesn’t know what he wants. No wonder his style is so ambiguous. It’s like God’s, God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just keeps on trying other things. The same with this sculptor. First he works from nature; then he tries abstraction.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading God Is Really Only Another Artist. He Invented the Giraffe, the Elephant, and the Cat. He Has No Real Style

Notes:

  1. 1964, Life with Picasso by Françoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Section: Foreword, Quote Page 9, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York. (Verified with scans)
  2. 1964, Life with Picasso by Françoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Part I, Quote Page 50, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York. (Verified with scans)

When There’s Anything To Steal, I Steal

Pablo Picasso? Françoise Gilot? Carlton Lake? Apocryphal?

art08Dear Quote Investigator: Pablo Picasso was one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. He was also open to the ideas and approaches of other creators. The following remark has been attributed to the master painter:

When there’s anything to steal, I steal.

Is this statement authentic?

Quote Investigator: There is a substantive citation supporting this quotation. In 1964 “Life with Picasso” by Françoise Gilot and Carlton Lake was published. Gilot was a long-time companion and muse of Picasso; they had two children together. She was also an independent artist and writer. Her coauthor, Lake, was an art critic.

Gilot described a visit that she and Picasso made to the fellow artist Henri Laurens who seemed delighted with the meeting. Gilot concluded that Laurens was especially welcoming because he was not in his studio. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 1

Most of the painters and sculptors Pablo called on were a little uneasy when Pablo was in their ateliers, perhaps because Pablo often said, “When there’s anything to steal, I steal.” So they all felt, I think, that if they showed him work they were doing and something caught his eye, he would take it over but do it much better and then everyone else would think that they had copied it from him.

Gilot was with Picasso primarily between 1944 and 1953; hence, the 1964 book was published after a decade delay. Yet, her coauthor was convinced that the quotations presented were accurate. The information in her testimony that Lake was able to cross-check was correct: 2

. . . I have been continuously impressed by her demonstration of the extent to which that much abused term “total recall” can be literally true. Françoise knows exactly what she said, what Pablo said, every step of the way for the ten years and more that they spent together. The direct quotations from Picasso are exactly that.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading When There’s Anything To Steal, I Steal

Notes:

  1. 1964, Life with Picasso by Françoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Part VI, Quote Page 317, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York. (Verified with scans)
  2. 1964, Life with Picasso by Françoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Section: Foreword, Quote Page 9, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York. (Verified with scans)