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Surprise, Invention, Economy in the Sculpture of Picasso

IN HIS SCULPTURE, PICASSO CONTRADICTS the views the views of both the public and many sculptors that the artist should always be straightforward, stylistically single-minded (or single-moded), constantly working to the very limits of his ability, and displaying reverence toward his craft and materials.1 Sculptures like his bicycle-derived Head of a Bull and the modeled Skull, show that he can be playful as well as serious, and that there are as many modes to his style as he has moods, motifs and materials to work with. Like owners of great cars he prefers to operate not flat out, but with something in reserve. Picasso’s attitude toward his craft often gives the impression that he is suppressing his skill or that he is indifferent to technique and disinterested in materials. (When he’s not near the material he loves, he loves the material that’s near. But he locates his studios where he

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