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La Vie

Pablo Journal
The Louvre Test


1998, Year 1
No. 1b, Aug 11

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After World War II, Picasso was asked to donate some works to French museums. As a compensation, he was granted a confrontation of some of his paintings to works of his colleagues in the Louvre, on a day closed to the public. Only very few persons were present. In a kind of ceremony, his works were hung side by side with other works of his choice. Rarely did someone speak. Afterwards, Picasso is to have said: "C'est la même chose!", i.e. it's the same thing: He and the other masters were doing the same, despite of different styles and attitudes. (As I recall the biographical notes of Françoise Gilot, then related with Picasso.) To me, this confrontation of works of different masters was a very interesting experience I would like to share with you. Hence this enterprise is dedicated to Pablo Picasso.


This series is not intended to be a university course. I am not an art scholar, I am just a painter and art lover only. As lover I will approach one of the works of art the heritage of all mankind has left us, one by one, week after week, as long as I can. I will keep my investigation personal and simple, meant to open your eyes to see for yourself. Words can be used as a means to that end, but it is rather the space between the words that does the work. A great master of the art of appreciation of art, Kurt Rossacher of Vienna, demanded to see with nose first, eyes, tongue, heart, and only at last with the brain.

Your appreciation will give me the power and strength to endure. It is for you and all the great masters that I do this work, and I hope you will enjoy it. So don't hesitate to send me your feedback in order to help me with that goal! This kind of journal is new to the net, so please tell me if the size is ok (images are great, but big!).

As I am writing in a foreign language, I am not sure to express myself correctly, but I hope you will be able to guess what I mean any time.

Also, I invite you to join in my effort. Send me your articles and comments to be published in this journal.

Yours truly,

Picasso (1881-1973)
La Vie

Joe (1948-)

Picasso, La Vie
Joe, 224
Location Size Date Scan

Cleveland Museum of Art

197*129 cm 77x49"


Carol Gerten

Location Size Date Scan

Artist's collection, Loehne

159*159 cm 63x63"


Werner Stürenburg

This painting was initially a self portrait of the artist as can be seen from preparing drawings. Later he changed the head to a portrait of his lost friend Casagemas who shot himself for refused love. This confronted Picasso with death, which he extremely abhorred all his life (like Goethe).

When Picasso showed in Zurich around 1930, C.G. Jung was asked to write about him from a psychologist's perspective. He was not at all surprised about the blue color. To him, this signaled the journey to the underworld, to be undertaken by any hero.

And a hero we are all indeed. You and me.

This is one of many paintings showing three persons (see Theme Three). It could be categorized as a 4 persons painting, too, taking the child as the fourth (see Theme Many). Years later I realized that I had painted quite a lot children, having none myself yet then (see Theme Children). No personal hints are given, and indeed there are none, not that I know of.

I don't fear death like Picasso. I like very much Castañeda's Don Juan, saying: "Death is always with you, actually behind your left shoulder. If he touches you lightly, you will die. Until then, he's your best friend."

When I look at the picture, I think of a ceremony to which the women assist. The man is about to step forward, next being brought to death with that big knife. The woman does not hate him, it is a ritual death. I guess it must be found somewhere in the bible: "The old Adam has to die." So it is the same theme in both paintings, a theme of life in general. I don't think Picasso knew anything about it. I certainly didn't.

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