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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

NO METHOD TO THE MADNESS

To the Editor:

Two books on Picasso were reviewed in the spring 1998 issue of Bookforum. Billy Klüver’s A Day with Picasso: Twenty-four Photographs by Jean Cocteau partakes of the genre “history as gossip” (it reads like the society page of the Sunday Times, with the usual nod at old-timers and identification of the fashionable). Rosalind KraussThe Picasso Papers, resolutely opposed to such glamorization, provides what I see as the first serious historical explanation of Picasso’s “return to Ingres” in 1915, and of his subsequent decade of pastiche production. The comparison between the books is all the more telling in that the two touch on the same issue: Klüver abides by the cliché that Cocteau was the major force behind both Picasso’s conversion to neoclassicism in the late ’10s and his involvement with the Ballets Russes, while Krauss shows, among other things,

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