Last week a friend showed me an article by Lady Muriel Wheeler, a fine painter and sculptor who was the wife of the President of the Royal Academy. In it she quotes a passage as follows.
‘in his Libro Nero, published in 1952, Giovanni Papini described a visit to Picasso, when the artist delivered himself as follows:
‘In art the mass of the people no longer seek consolation and exultation, but those who are refined, rich, leisured, who are distillers of quintessence’s , seek what is new, strange original, scandalous. I myself, since cubism and even before, have satisfied these masters and critics with all the changing oddities that passed through my head, and the less they understood me, the more they admired me. By amusing myself with all these puzzles, rebuses and arabesques, I became famous and that very quickly. And fame for a painter means sales, gains, fortune, riches. And today as you know, I am celebrated, I am rich. But when I am alone with myself, I have not the courage to think of myself as an artist in the great and ancient sense of the term. Giotto, Rembrandt and Goya were great painters. I am only a public entertainer who has understood his times and has exhausted as best he could the imbecility, the vanity, the cupidity of his contemporaries. Mine is a bitter confession, more painful than it may appear. But it has the merit of being sincere.’
John Stocks @ AM Fine Art