Friday, November 19

Picasso's Colors

Then the man in the blue suit reaches into his pocket and takes out a large sheet of paper, which he carefully unfolds and hands to me. It is covered with Picasso's handwriting — less spasmodic, more studied than usual. At first sight, it resembles a poem. Twenty or so verses are assembled in a column, surrounded by broad white margins. Each verse is prolonged with a dash, occasionally a very long one. But it is not a poem; it is Picasso’s most recent order for colors …

For once, all the anonymous heroes of Picasso’s palette trooped forth from the shadows, with Permanent White at their head. Each had distinguished himself in some great battle — the blue period, the rose period, cubism, “Guernica” … Each could say: “I too, I was there …” And Picasso, reviewing his old comrades-in-arms, gives to each of them a sweep of his pen, a long dash that seems a fraternal salute: Welcome Persian red! Welcome emerald green! Cerulean blue, ivory black, cobalt violet, clear and deep, welcome! Welcome!

-- Brassaï Conversations avec Picasso