One Starts To Get Young at the Age of 60 and Then It’s Too Late

Pablo Picasso? Jean Cocteau? Derek Prouse?

Dear Quote Investigator: The proficiency, creativity, and potency of an artist can grow for decades. Yet, painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso apparently said the following about his change in mentality as he became older. Here are two versions:

  • One starts to get young at 60 and then it is too late.
  • One starts to get young at the age of sixty, and then it’s too late.

Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: Derek Prouse interviewed the prominent French literary figure and film maker Jean Cocteau shortly before the artist died, and the conversation appeared in “The Sunday Times” of London in October 1963. Cocteau repeated a remark he had heard recently from Pablo Picasso. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

“Of course, the artist’s life has always been a struggle. Picasso said to me the other day: ‘One starts to get young at the age of 60—and then it’s too late.’ Only then does one start to feel free; only then has one learned to strip oneself down to one’s essential creative simplicity.”

Thus, the evidence for this quotation is indirect. Cocteau reported the words he ascribed to Picasso during an interview published in “The Sunday Times”.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading One Starts To Get Young at the Age of 60 and Then It’s Too Late

Notes:

  1. 1963 October 27, The Boston Sunday Globe, Cocteau’s Last Observations: One Is Getting Young At 60 … It’s Too Late by Derek Prouse, Quote Page 6A, Column 1 and 2, Boston, Massachusetts. (The interview originally appeared in “The Sunday Times” of London on October 20, 1963) (Newspapers_com)