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    Avalon Member Kryztian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    This brings a story to mind: My German "uncle" had a friend he traveled with who knew Salvador Dalí. They were driving in Spain and the friend decided they should pay an unannounced visit. Gala, Dalí's wife answered the door and said he was very sick and couldn't see them. When the were back in the car, the artist friend says, "I guess they sent some painting off to a gallery to be sold." The value of art always goes up when an artist dies and Gala was famous for circulating rumors of her husband's impending death to drive up the price of art.

    The widow and children of deceased artists often make a living selling and buying the paintings of their spouse or parent. They know better than anyone else the whereabouts and ownership of various paintings, who is collecting, and what prices were paid. They might have an inventory of paintings and it is to their benefit to have fewer authentic paintings out there, to drive up the value of their own paintings. So Maya Picasso has a vested interest in declaring that drawing to be inauthentic, for herself and for her clients and friends.

    Maya was born in 1935, probably 30 to 35 after the drawing was done and probably long after it left her father's hand. It's extremely unlikely that she would have ever seen it. Did she give any reason for her judgement as to why it was a forgery? Does someone become an expert on a subject just by saying yes or no, but without providing any intelligent reason?

    There are people who authenticate artworks or declare them forgeries, or give their best assessment. They look at the brush and pencil strokes, at the materials (paper, canvas, paint, etc.) used. At how it's aged. Did Lisa ever consult with one of these people, either before selling it, or after receiving Maya's letter? If she would have had the painting insured for authenticity, then she would have had to have had this done. But she didn't want to spend the money and assumed the risk herself. So it should be 100% her liability.

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    Thailand Avalon Member palehorse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    Sorry to hear that, but it changes nothing how I feel about this community.. Long Live Project Avalon!!!

    Seems like Kevin Moore got nothing to do with his life... I can see where it goes, he is pathetic!

    [EDIT]
    I just tried to reply to that youtube channel, and guess what? I am not allowed to add my reply because I was completely going against to general opinion in the channel. Then I posted "I love you Moore" and it is allowed, of course I deleted that. For me it just prove how bastard useless piece of !@#$ google/youtube is.
    Last edited by palehorse; 23rd September 2020 at 02:30.
    --
    A chaos to the sense, a Kosmos to the reason.

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    United States Moderator Sue (Ayt)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    Quote Posted by Kryztian (here)
    The widow and children of deceased artists often make a living selling and buying the paintings of their spouse or parent. They know better than anyone else the whereabouts and ownership of various paintings, who is collecting, and what prices were paid. They might have an inventory of paintings and it is to their benefit to have fewer authentic paintings out there, to drive up the value of their own paintings. So Maya Picasso has a vested interest in declaring that drawing to be inauthentic, for herself and for her clients and friends.

    Maya was born in 1935, probably 30 to 35 after the drawing was done and probably long after it left her father's hand. It's extremely unlikely that she would have ever seen it. Did she give any reason for her judgement as to why it was a forgery? Does someone become an expert on a subject just by saying yes or no, but without providing any intelligent reason?

    There are people who authenticate artworks or declare them forgeries, or give their best assessment. They look at the brush and pencil strokes, at the materials (paper, canvas, paint, etc.) used. At how it's aged. Did Lisa ever consult with one of these people, either before selling it, or after receiving Maya's letter? If she would have had the painting insured for authenticity, then she would have had to have had this done. But she didn't want to spend the money and assumed the risk herself. So it should be 100% her liability.
    Also: A quick search of Emile Wolf finds:Link
    Quote Born in 1899 in Hungary, Mr. Wolf began his art collection with landscapes painted by local emerging Hungarian artists. Working in the lumber business, he traveled extensively throughout the world and used these opportunities to acquaint himself to art of different genres and time periods.

    All of what you wrote above is completely logical to me, Kryztian.
    But then, when has our legal system ever made any sense?
    "We're all bozos on this bus"

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    Avalon Member Kryztian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    Quote Posted by Sue (Ayt) (here)
    Also: A quick search of Emile Wolf finds:Link
    Quote Born in 1899 in Hungary, Mr. Wolf began his art collection with landscapes painted by local emerging Hungarian artists. Working in the lumber business, he traveled extensively throughout the world and used these opportunities to acquaint himself to art of different genres and time periods.
    There you have it. Mr. Wolf "traveled extensively throughout the world" and he could have also been in Africa for his lumber business, especially he was interested in rare unusual woods. The Sotheyby's catalog also shows he had this painting in his personal collection:



    It is of African sculptures, and when I have seen African art like this, it usually does come from countries like Ivory Coast, Ghana and Upper Volta (Burkina Faso). It really isn't surprising that he traveled to Africa.

    Also, he was quite generous and gifted several pieces of Art to the National Gallery so it really isn't surprise he gave a piece of art to Bill's father.

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    Scotland Moderator Billy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    This is a copy of the letter that Maya Picasso sent.

    Click image for larger version

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    I do not understand French but one persons translation reads.
    Quote:
    I already responded and responded again that I do not "believe" that this is the work of my father's hand. Sorry.
    End quote:

    Maybe someone can confirm what the letter actually says ?

    To me a "belief" is not a fact but an opinion. Which means there was not a full investigation on Maya's behalf on whether the sketch was genuine or not.
    When you express from a fearful heart in the now moment, You create a fearful future.
    When you express from a loving heart in the now moment, You create a loving future.

    Have no fear, Be aware and live your lives journey from a compassionate caring nurturing heart to manifest a compassionate caring nurturing future. Billyji


    Peace

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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)
    And here's an enlargement of the signature: "P. Ruiz Picasso". This is how he signed all his early work. (Dr Enrique Mallen — a Picasso expert, see below — dated it to around 1903.)
    I have a problem right here: 1903 doesn’t sound right: I am thinking more like 1900. Enrique Mallen’s own site says this for 1901:
    Quote JANUARY 1: In MÁLAGA, accompanied by Casagemas, goes to visit Uncle Salvador in the hopes of obtaining the 1200 pesetas that could buy his way out of serving in the military. Outrages everybody by his behavior - ignoring his family members, visiting brothels, and by his dress and demeanor. His friend Casagemas joins him in all of his activities and adds excessive drinking. Casagemas' excesses lead Picasso to separate from him, asking his Uncle Salvador to pay his friend's passage back to Paris. This was the last time he was to see Casagemas alive. Apart from a few drawings, produces little work during the month they spend there. At this time, drops his father's name when signing his paintings. This will be the last time he returns to the city of his birth.
    ‘Drops his father's name’ refers to Ruiz, Picasso was his mother’s name.


    Billy, the translation is OK.


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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    While I have insufficient evidence to come to anything approaching a conclusion, there is enough to build up a couple of strands in an intriguing story, a lot of which comes of course, as I suggested, from looking at the actual artwork. Take it as no more than a piece of creative writing.

    First off, my doubts over the date are important because the period covers a time when Picasso was in Barcelona, in Paris for two months, then back in Barcelona for a while before settling in Paris. In Barcelona, he would attend bullfights with the likes of Jaime Sabartés. In Paris, he would frequent museums and galleries, learning the ropes from the modern masters, many of whom were still alive. So the drawing could be a sketch from life in Barcelona, with or without this more self-conscious artistic component.

    It should be noted in passing that these artists’ movements were partly dictated by their dodging the draft in the Spanish-American war over Cuba, much as the Impressionists before them had to contend with the Franco-Prussian War.

    Secondly, if Maya Picasso dismisses the piece out of hand as a fake with no substantive argument, then maybe she has some subjective reason for rejecting it. In other words, it does not match her idea of who and what her father was or should be like. While there is nothing objectively shocking about a young man barely out of his teens being different from the mature figure who became her father decades later, there is one thing that might shock a daughter and no one else. More on that below.

    I have a book published in 1995 by the author Norman Mailer, Portrait of Pablo Picasso as a Young Man – or rather the 2004 French translation, so I cannot make verbatim quotes. Mailer confirms the name change as taking place in 1901. In the preface, he describes his experience of studying the 33 large volumes of Zervos’s Pablo Picasso in 1962, and being destabilized to the point of taking another 30+ years to write it up in this book. Incidentally, there you have the same three decade gap as between the above two Picassos.

    Mailer begins with an almost legendary account of Picasso’s birth. He appeared stillborn, until his uncle, Dr Ruiz, revived him with a whiff of cigar smoke. If true, the story strikes me as having a shamanic component to it. Mailer goes on to describe how in Paris, the precocious artist would copy others with extraordinary intensity, borrowing from everyone, while holding off from developing the personal style that any artist must have. This sounds to me very much like what a forger would do, except that the forger never does find a style of his own. In other words, the forger is a kind of stillborn artist, a failed artist. Mailer notes how earlier Picasso underlined in his Latin grammar the word latrocinor (‘I am a pirate; I am a looter’).

    This is hugely important for all of humanity, for you only have to remember the havoc the biggest failed artist of them all ended up wreaking – no name needed. I will come back to this idea in another post on another thread.

    Coming back to the drawing, it is slightly unusual because it shows two matadors standing side by side, where typically the non-cognoscenti at least would only expect one, such is the stardom attached to the role. Why they would be working in tandem may be explainable in terms of real people depicted in this unusual situation. Picasso may or may not have seen (I don’t know) a painting by Manet depicting his model Victorine Meurent, herself an artist, as a matador in a pose resembling a painter’s perhaps more than a bull-fighter’s. What is more tangible is the resemblance, however slight, of the younger figure on the left to Picasso’s self-portraits of the period. This would mean that the other matador is a representation is one of his friends or acquaintances. The question then is who? And why – apart from the fact that he was there?

    Notice in passing how part of the psychological aspect is very old. Norman Mailer describes how, as a small child in Málaga, Picasso used to go the corrida with his father and once was so fascinated with the torero’s bright costume that he cried uncontrollably until he was allowed to touch it. Another major event was the death of his sister. When he was 13, she caught diphtheria, and Pablo vowed to give up his art if she were saved. When she died he decided God was evil and destiny an enemy, feelings that were mixed up with the almost magical conviction that his sister’s death had liberated him to pursue his art, whatever the consequences. This is the art that we are talking about: serious stuff.

    In Barcelona, Picasso shared a studio with Carles Casagemas; as the latter paid the rent, the former decorated the studio with everything they didn’t have: a large bed, a table bearing a lavish meal etc. Douanier Rousseau saw the connection with an Egyptian tomb, which suggests that Picasso was still dead before coming properly to life. Be that as it may, Mailer describes how, in order to keep body and soul together, the artist was churning out all sorts of material, including charcoal portraits of his friends. So the model could be this Casagemas, who soon committed suicide and was painted by Picasso on his deathbed and in his coffin. But apart from the poverty, there is nothing shocking to this explanation for how the drawing came about.

    The possibly shocking episode happened in a repeat situation in Paris – which would mean that the signature is problematical after all. It is not inconceivable in light of all the above that Picasso ‘forged’ his own signature, meaning that he reverted to the one he is supposed to have abandoned. It could therefore be BOTH genuine (signed by the artist) and fake (anachronistically wrong) if the signature pointed to an earlier date. This makes it possible to fool the experts without engaging in a forgery. Why would he do that? For a very good reason that is entirely understandable even today – especially today. In Paris, the same thing happened when the impoverished Picasso moved in, this time with his dealer, one Pere Mañach, about ten years his senior and notorious for his taste for young men; he was immediately fascinated with Picasso who, we are told elsewhere, looked like a girl. Mailer describes how Picasso definitely avoided this Mañach as much as possible, even walking the streets half the night to stay away. Writing in the 1990s, Mailer tentatively hints at homosexual predation on Mañach’s part. Viewed from 2020, this sounds exactly like what we hear so much of especially in top level sports, with talented youngsters taking years or decades to tell their story of being abused by their coaches leveraging their desire to achieve their ambitions.

    Mailer notes the likeness between Picasso’s self-portraits and his portraits of Mañach, and wonders if this is not a sign of sexual promiscuity. If the litigious drawing were a double portrait of the two together, then it would be very understandable for the artist’s daughter to recoil from the whole business, without at all knowing why. So there you have the ambiguity: if the picture is genuine, then it is evidence suggesting that the sordid affair really did happen; if the picture is a fake, then the whole episode remains covered up.

    I’ll leave this aspect there and segue into something completely different, on a different time scale, telling a different story about different protagonists. When I zoomed in on this picture, I was struck by a resemblance of the figure on the right to… Bill Ryan (headgear and all)! Of course, this makes no sense whatsoever, unless we presuppose a likeness to his father – these things do happen If so, what we then have is a drawing gifted to someone bearing a resemblance to this matador. Could this happen by chance, or if not, how else could it happen? I think many people might do this, but only to someone they could get in touch with. One may wonder, did Emile Wolf have this picture with him in Ghana for this very reason?

    I know just one thing about James Ryan from Bill himself, who once explained somewhere on Avalon that his father had had a part in the invention of the Identikit/Photofit system, whereby an artist joins some dots (facial features) to obtain a bigger picture. A Roman nose plus a protruding jaw, bushy eyebrows, receding hairline; put them all together and you have a portrait that someone might recognize, and voilà, you have a flesh-and-blood missing person. For this invention, I imagine Mr Ryan got his own photo in the papers and whatever, meaning that Emile Wolf had the possibility of noting a resemblance in the drawing in his possession. He might have discovered the man was living in Ghana where he himself was heading looking for African art, and decided to look him up. Something along those lines.

    This is as far as I am able or prepared to explore in this direction. It is really none of our business. One important thing we have learned over recent decades is that secrets are kept not only by perpetrators, but also by victims, not to mention their friends and family. My tentative conclusion at this point is that Bill suffered grief from the residual effects of Picasso’s own silence being passed on to his daughter, perhaps mistakenly calling the drawing a fake; and this loss was in turn passed on to Lisa the art dealer, through Bill’s expert perhaps correctly calling it authentic. (This is independent of the question of insurance: if she was not insured, then she ought to have been.) All in all, the artwork itself appears to have had a troubled, uncatalogued existence, causing who knows what other pain down the century. But the real grief belongs to Picasso himself, obliged to scrape a living by revisiting such painful experiences.

    I am reminded of the Borges story ‘The Zahir’ in which an object of obsession turns up in various forms and is something to be forgotten, lost or buried in order to preserve one’s sanity. But perversely it can never be left entirely alone: ‘There were nights when I was so sure of being able to forget it that I deliberately recalled it to mind. What is certain is that I overdid these occasions: it was easier to start the thing that to have done with it.’ There are things that we need to forget and to forget we are forgetting. The trouble with art is that nothing gets thrown out, while other things sometimes get thrown in! There is another Borges story called ‘Theme of the Traitor’, in which one Ryan learns to stop looking. It is always difficult to know where to draw the line.


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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    Quote Posted by Billy (here)
    This is a copy of the letter that Maya Picasso sent.

    Attachment 44555

    I do not understand French but one persons translation reads.
    Quote:
    I already responded and responded again that I do not "believe" that this is the work of my father's hand. Sorry.
    End quote:

    Maybe someone can confirm what the letter actually says ?

    To me a "belief" is not a fact but an opinion. Which means there was not a full investigation on Maya's behalf on whether the sketch was genuine or not.
    Billy, I said the translation of the letter in French from Maya Picasso was OK. There is one interesting thing though. ‘I believe’ is ‘je crois’, ‘I don’t believe’ is ‘je ne crois pas’. But she writes ‘je ne crois’ with no ‘pas’. This is a common enough writing mistake because the negative has already been written by the time you get to ‘pas’. (Note how oral French does the opposite, often skipping the ‘ne’.) I would hesitate to see a Freudian slip, simply because her written French is not totally reliable. Notice how she has added an ‘s’ to ‘debout’ to agree with a plural: she was right the first time, ‘debout’ is invariable.


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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    Quote Posted by araucaria (here)
    Quote Posted by Billy (here)
    This is a copy of the letter that Maya Picasso sent.

    Attachment 44555

    I do not understand French but one persons translation reads.
    Quote:
    I already responded and responded again that I do not "believe" that this is the work of my father's hand. Sorry.
    End quote:

    Maybe someone can confirm what the letter actually says ?

    To me a "belief" is not a fact but an opinion. Which means there was not a full investigation on Maya's behalf on whether the sketch was genuine or not.
    Billy, I said the translation of the letter in French from Maya Picasso was OK. There is one interesting thing though. ‘I believe’ is ‘je crois’, ‘I don’t believe’ is ‘je ne crois pas’. But she writes ‘je ne crois’ with no ‘pas’. This is a common enough writing mistake because the negative has already been written by the time you get to ‘pas’. (Note how oral French does the opposite, often skipping the ‘ne’.) I would hesitate to see a Freudian slip, simply because her written French is not totally reliable. Notice how she has added an ‘s’ to ‘debout’ to agree with a plural: she was right the first time, ‘debout’ is invariable.
    "Je ne crois" without adding "pas" is acceptable French, albeit somewhat formal and archaic. I have seen it before, albeit that it usually only shows up in written language, not in spoken language.

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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    Quote Posted by Frank V (here)
    Quote Posted by araucaria (here)
    Quote Posted by Billy (here)
    This is a copy of the letter that Maya Picasso sent.

    Attachment 44555

    I do not understand French but one persons translation reads.
    Quote:
    I already responded and responded again that I do not "believe" that this is the work of my father's hand. Sorry.
    End quote:

    Maybe someone can confirm what the letter actually says ?

    To me a "belief" is not a fact but an opinion. Which means there was not a full investigation on Maya's behalf on whether the sketch was genuine or not.
    Billy, I said the translation of the letter in French from Maya Picasso was OK. There is one interesting thing though. ‘I believe’ is ‘je crois’, ‘I don’t believe’ is ‘je ne crois pas’. But she writes ‘je ne crois’ with no ‘pas’. This is a common enough writing mistake because the negative has already been written by the time you get to ‘pas’. (Note how oral French does the opposite, often skipping the ‘ne’.) I would hesitate to see a Freudian slip, simply because her written French is not totally reliable. Notice how she has added an ‘s’ to ‘debout’ to agree with a plural: she was right the first time, ‘debout’ is invariable.
    "Je ne crois" without adding "pas" is acceptable French, albeit somewhat formal and archaic. I have seen it before, albeit that it usually only shows up in written language, not in spoken language.
    Sure, extremely formal and archaic. Possible from someone who writes in haste 'debouts' and removes the 's', unlikely from someone who does the opposite. Speaking here as an expert.
    Frank , I would appreciate your feedback on my earlier post?


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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    Quote Posted by araucaria (here)
    Quote Posted by Frank V (here)
    Quote Posted by araucaria (here)
    Quote Posted by Billy (here)
    This is a copy of the letter that Maya Picasso sent.

    Attachment 44555

    I do not understand French but one persons translation reads.
    Quote:
    I already responded and responded again that I do not "believe" that this is the work of my father's hand. Sorry.
    End quote:

    Maybe someone can confirm what the letter actually says ?

    To me a "belief" is not a fact but an opinion. Which means there was not a full investigation on Maya's behalf on whether the sketch was genuine or not.
    Billy, I said the translation of the letter in French from Maya Picasso was OK. There is one interesting thing though. ‘I believe’ is ‘je crois’, ‘I don’t believe’ is ‘je ne crois pas’. But she writes ‘je ne crois’ with no ‘pas’. This is a common enough writing mistake because the negative has already been written by the time you get to ‘pas’. (Note how oral French does the opposite, often skipping the ‘ne’.) I would hesitate to see a Freudian slip, simply because her written French is not totally reliable. Notice how she has added an ‘s’ to ‘debout’ to agree with a plural: she was right the first time, ‘debout’ is invariable.
    "Je ne crois" without adding "pas" is acceptable French, albeit somewhat formal and archaic. I have seen it before, albeit that it usually only shows up in written language, not in spoken language.
    Sure, extremely formal and archaic. Possible from someone who writes in haste 'debouts' and removes the 's', unlikely from someone who does the opposite. Speaking here as an expert.
    Frank , I would appreciate your feedback on my earlier post?
    I'm afraid I'm not qualified to comment on that, friend. I don't know enough about art and I am by no means an expert on the lives of already long-deceased artists.

    All I really know and remember about Pablo Picasso from my art classes in high school is that, like many of his contemporaries, he heavily experimented with all sorts of drugs and alcohol, that he traveled a lot, and that he has covered just about every imaginable style, from impressionism and expressionism over surrealism to cubism and nihilism, including a monochromatic phase in which everything he painted was ─ with a few exceptions ─ in some shade of blue or turquoise.


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    Avalon Member Kryztian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    Here are the three documents relating to the authentication and description of the Picasso drawing "La Corrida", two of them with a new translation. The French to English translations are courtesy of Flash.

    1) October 19th, 2006. Letter from Marine Bancilhon (sp?), the secretary to Claude Picasso, who is Picasso's grandson



    Translation:

    Quote Dear Gentelmen,
    Mister Claude Picasso has examined the art piece described below:
    • Corrida circa 1901 measuring n/? 5X26 cm
    No. NYCRG004- 1 This drawing and its signature are not, in his opinion, and art from the hand of his father Pablo Picasso.
    Please believe, dear Madame, in the assurance of my distinguished salutation

    The secretary

    2) February 24th, 2008 Letter from Maya Picasso, daughter of Picasso, step-mother to Claude Picasso



    Translation:


    Quote Regarding the art piece: 24,75 X 34,3
    Signed at the bottom right hand side
    P. Ruiz Picasso
    Representing 2 men standing up
    Created at the beginning of the century starting on the 1900 -___
    I have answered and answered again
    That I do not believe that this art piece is from the hand of my father _
    Sorry,
    Maya Picasso
    3) March 16th, 2005. Report of Prof. Dr. Enrique Mallen, director of the On Line Picasso Project






    Note the last few sentences of Prof. Dr. Enrique Mallen's report, before his signature.

    Quote The signature that appears in the drawing is an additional mark of this transition between his Spanish persons and his Spanish persona and his new personality. While 'Picasso' mostly appears in his signature of 1901, he still preserves 'Ruiz' as part of his artistic name in some of the works. We know that until just before his trip to Paris, the artist had signed most paintings 'P. Ruiz Picasso', later simplifying the signature to 'P.R. Picasso'. Upon his return to Barcelona from Paris, he had for the most part abbreviate it further still to 'Picasso."
    He clearly explains why the drawing is signed "P. Ruiz Picasso" and discusses in detail about how Picasso's signature evolved over time . Did Claude Picasso know this fact or take this into consideration when he gave his opinion to the secretary? Did he give this picture more than a 15 second glance? There is no indication of that. Meanwhile, Maya Picasso does not give any reason whatsoever for her conclusion about the painting, and she states it as if it is a subject opinion, not an objective fact. Did Lisa of New River Gallery every bother to furnish Claude or Maya Picasso with this comprehensive report, or notice his explanation of the signature? Did she even bother to read this her self or take that into consideration before she vociferously denounced Bill as an art felon?

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    UK Avalon Founder Bill Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    This is extremely interesting, brought to my attention by a very astute Avalon member. (Thank you! )

    In this email I sent to Lisa back in 2006, I shared what I knew of my father's connection with Emile Wolf in Ghana:



    That's all self-explanatory. But in this recent 2017 bio of Emile Wolf on the Sotheby's website, Wolf is listed as working in the lumber business.

    I never knew that!

    So that's the reason Wolf was in Ghana, where he would have been sure to have met my father, who was the General Manager of the National Timber Company.


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    France Avalon Member araucaria's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    Thank you Krystian, my browser got tired after a couple of pages on this website and I didn’t get that far. Clearly Enrique Mallen’s is a first appraisal, delivered with the proviso that he is not liable in the event of contestation. Art is money, but not of the sort that ‘you can take to the bank’. In that respect, he is more serious than either Lisa, the uninsured dealer, or Maya Picasso, who simply says sorry, too bad (désolée!). And of course, he is much more qualified than I am.

    My own input was given from someone with some experience - but no formal training in this field - as an interpretative layer on top of the above. Our readings of the signature are compatible. Where I differ is in thinking that Picasso had been to Paris and seen Manet. I may well be wrong

    However, I was apparently not wrong in thinking – although it was a stab in the dark – that Emile Wolf knew what Bill’s Dad looked like. Btw, who is JAMES Ryan?


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    France Avalon Member araucaria's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill's Picasso story

    What seems established if the drawing is genuine is that it dates from the start of the blue period or slightly earlier. There is a fascinating essay by Carl Jung claiming to be ‘in a position to look at Picasso’s pictures from a professional point of view’, and in which he analyzes the Nekyia, the descent into the underworld. This is an experience we find in Homer’s Odyssey, as part of Odysseus/Ulysses’ epic homecoming from the Trojan War. It is reworked by Virgil in the Aeneid, with the Trojan Aeneas on his way to founding the city of Rome. We also think of Dante’s Inferno, and of the Christian narrative of the entombment, taking place between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Reacting to a 1932 exhibition, Jung, who is familiar with Picasso’s ‘literary brother, James Joyce’, author of Ulysses (and later of the specifically nocturnal novel Finnegans Wake) here applies the Nekyia to the Catalan artist.
    Quote the Nekyia – the journey to Hades, the descent into the unconscious, and the leave-taking from the upper world. What happens afterwards, though it may still be expressed in the forms and figures of the day-world, gives intimations of a hidden meaning and is therefore symbolic in character. Thus Picasso starts with the still objective pictures of the Blue Period – the blue of night, of moonlight and water, the Tuat-blue of the Egyptian underworld. He dies, and his soul rides on horseback into the beyond. The day-life clings to him, and a woman with a child steps up to him warningly. As the day is woman to him, so is the night; psychologically speaking, they are the light and the dark soul (anima). The dark one sits waiting, expecting him in the blue twilight, and stirring up morbid presentiments. With the change of colour, we enter the underworld. The world of objects is deathstruck, as the horrifying masterpiece of the syphilitic, tubercular, adolescent prostitute makes plain. The motif of the prostitute begins with the entry into the beyond, where he, as a departed soul, encounters a number of others of his kind. When I say ‘he,’ I mean that personality in Picasso which suffers the underworld fate – the man in him who does not turn towards the day-world, but is fatefully drawn into the dark; who follows not the accepted ideals of goodness and beauty, but the demoniacal attraction of ugliness and evil. It is these antichristian and Luciferian forces that well up in modern man and engender an all-pervading sense of doom, veiling the bright world of day with the mists of Hades, infecting it with deadly decay, and finally, like an earthquake, dissolving it into fragments, fractures, discarded remnants, debris, shreds, and disorganised units. Picasso and his exhibition are a sign of the times, just as much as the twenty-eight thousand people who came to look at his pictures.
    To dispel the ambiguity between his psychiatric patients and such ‘schizophrenic’ artistic work (which would have to include his own research, in 1934 Jung added a footnote, including this statement:
    Quote (…) I regard neither Picasso nor Joyce as psychotics, but count them among a large number of people whose habitus it is to react to a profound psychic disturbance not with an ordinary psychoneurosis but with a schizoid syndrome. As the above statement has given rise to some misunderstanding, I have considered it necessary to add this psychiatric explanation.
    It is interesting therefore that the founding action ultimately leading to the Avalon forum project should have been the sale of such an artwork. The fine line between madness and creativity has often been noted. It is a line regularly trodden by those who are sometimes known as ‘conspiracy theorists’, a term suggesting that a diagnosis of insanity has already been made. This may actually be the case for many, but not everyone in the asylum is insane: you have medical and other staff, and visitors as well, not to mention inmates of unusual creativity, the likes of Vincent Van Gogh or Antonin Artaud, author inter alia of Van Gogh ou le suicidé de la société and of this:
    Quote The duty
    Of the writer, the poet
    Is not to shut himself up like a coward in a text, a book, a magazine never to emerge from it
    But on the contrary to come out
    Outside
    To shake up,
    To attack,
    The public mind,
    Otherwise
    What purpose does he serve?
    And why was he born?
    A forum such as Avalon I see as a further stage in a process where when formerly one artist might take twenty-eight thousand followers on this kind of trip, you now have thousands of posters all performing like artists and maybe attracting a few followers of their own. This is the symbolism of the bullfight, and in particular the multiplication of the matadors – the unspoken message being the taming of the raging bull. Jung’s whole short essay is well worth a read, but here is another excerpt:
    Quote The Nekyia is no aimless and purely destructive fall into the abyss, but a meaningful katabasis eis antron, a descent into the cave of initiation and secret knowledge. The journey through the psychic history of mankind has as its object the restoration of the whole man, by awakening the memories in the blood. The descent to the Mothers enabled Faust to raise up the sinfully whole human being – Paris united with Helen – that homo totus who was forgotten when contemporary man lost himself in one-sidedness. It is he who at all times of upheaval has caused the tremor of the upper world, and always will. This man stands opposed to the man of the present, because he is the one who ever is as he was, whereas the other is what he is only for the moment. With my patients, accordingly, the katabasis and katalysis are followed by a recognition of the bipolarity of human nature and of the necessity of conflicting pairs of opposites. After the symbols of madness experienced during the period of disintegration there follow images which represent the coming together of the opposites: light/dark, above/below, white/black, male/female, etc. In Picasso’s latest paintings, the motif of the union of opposites is seen very clearly in their direct juxtaposition. One painting (although traversed by numerous lines of fracture) even contains the conjunction of the light and dark anima. The strident, uncompromising, even brutal colours of the latest period reflect the tendency of the unconscious to master the conflict by violence (colour = feeling). This state of things in the psychic development of a patient is neither the end nor the goal. It represents only a broadening of his outlook, which now embraces the whole of man’s moral, bestial, and spiritual nature without as yet shaping it into a living unity. Picasso’s drame interieur has developed up to this last point before the denouement. As to the future Picasso, I would rather not try my hand at prophecy, for this inner adventure is a hazardous affair and can lead at any moment to a standstill or to a catastrophic bursting asunder of the conjoined opposites.


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