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Apollinaire, Eye to Eye, and Jean Cocteau and the French Scene

“I HAVE EXPERIENCED MY greatest artistic emotions, when I suddenly discovered the sublime beauty of sculptures executed by the anonymous artists from Africa. These passionate and rigorously logical works are what the human imagination has produced as most potent and most beautiful.” Picasso’s earliest recorded statement on art was transcribed by Guillaume Apollinaire, who may even have been with him when he looked into a shop window or visited the Trocadéro collection in Paris. For Apollinaire this marked one stage in a lifetime’s research; by 1918, the year of his death, he had published (with Paul Guillaume) the first book on primitive art in France, and had even become a civil servant working to establish travel grants for historians of primitive culture. This scholarly study reprints details of Apollinaire’s library and his art collection, and sifts through his writings for references

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