Patrick O’Brian’s outstanding biography of Picasso explores comprehensively the life of this awe-inspiring artist. Enormously productive and hugely successful, Picasso continues to attract avid, insatiable public interest. O’Brian was a close friend and a neighbour of Picasso’s, and the book reflects the closeness of their friendship and the immense erudition and warm wit of Patrick O’Brian.
The man that emerges from the pages is full of contradictions: hard yet tender, mean yet generous, affectionate but cold, professing communism but retaining an essentially Catholic mentality, private despite his relish of fame. Critically, O’Brian’s is the only biography to fully appreciate the distinctly Mediterranean origins of Picasso’s character and art.
Sex and money, eating and drinking, friends and quarrels, comedies and tragedies, suicides and wars tumble over each other in the vast chaos of Picasso’s experience, He was ‘a man almost as lonely as the sun, but one who glowed with much the same fierce, burning life.’
`Patrick O'Brian has written much the best biography of Picasso. It is full of information, the judgements both of Picasso as a man and as an artist seem to me remarkably convincing, and it is extremely well-written. In particular, the relationship between Picasso and the Catalan painters is given its true importance, both in his formative years and, as friends, throughout his life.'Kenneth Clarke
Patrick O'Brian, one of our greatest contemporary novelists, is the author of the acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin tales and the biographer of Joseph Banks and Picasso. His first novel, Testimonies, and his Collected Short Stories were recently republished by HarperCollins. In 1995, he was the first recipient of the Heywood Hill Prize for a lifetime's contribution to literature. In the same year he was awarded the CBE. In 1997 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters by Trinity College, Dublin. He died in January 2000at the age of 85.