Picasso, the Elder

Worth checking: a retrospective of Picasso's work via the New York Times.

The complete exhibit on line at Gagosian Gallery.

Leaning Harlequin, Oil on canvas, 1901
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, ©

Another early work from 1901 at Cantor Center for Visual Arts is Courtesan with Hat, by Pablo Picasso work.

Couple, 1970, Oil on canvas,
76 3/4 x 51 1/4 inches (195 x 130 cm),
Estate of Picasso ©

Pablo Picasso has repelled me, reduced me to artistic tears and fascinated me over the years. My revulsion and unwillingness to spend time studying his work lasted too long and was childish. I rejected what I didn't understand and hence missed that necessary continuous exposure and understanding of art history that makes for a good art student.

I should have known better for my art mentor, Max Granick, would have chided me unmercifully. Sometimes we get lucky, serendipitous or design, but it is nevertheless lucky to have someone like Max in one's life. Max was a high school friend's father, a prestigious picture framer for the Metropolitan, among other art houses and had one of the most important collections of Tribal Oceanic and African Art in the West.

When we 15 year olds got together to eat breakfast, or dinner at the Granick's 20-plus foot hand hewn table, we ate with statues and paintings on the table, on the walls, and on pedestals. In front of our massive plates of generous provisions from Ms. Granick's kitchen or Zabar's, we touched elbows with art history. We were privileged to hear about artists, genres, schools of thought and often see examples either at the house or in Max' workshop that rivalled none. If memory serves, I believe he dragged a few of us to an exhibit or two at the Metropolitan or the nearby MoMA to prove his point.

I don't know if my other school mates remember those Saturday mornings as well as I do, but I do know one is now a class act painter in her own right, and another, recently deceased, became one of few masterful art restorers.

I haven't thought about Max and his profound influence on me for many years, but when I read a rather off-hand aspersion about Picasso on a painting site this week, both my own early ignorance and Max' words came flying back to me through the ether.

It took me more than twenty years after those breakfasts to see Picasso's oeuvre, come to appreciate him as a painter and understand his process. It came about on a spring day in Paris and at his home museum.

Generally when I visit a museum, I decide before hand how I intend to see an exhibit: in its entirety, a single treasure, or a quick walk through. In 1989, I decided to spend an entire day at the Picasso Museum, and absorb.

That day of absorption lead to more studying of his work, and a hundred and eighty degree turn-about, from loathing to admiring.

Thank you Max!

And rest in peace, Max, JZ and Pablo Picasso.


  1. As a daughter , I want to thank you for your memories. My father Max Granick was indeed an inspiration. He had an inpeccable eye. I can just hear his comments on Picasso. He influenced many people including his three daughters!.

  2. Amazing how the internet can both delight and intrude. I'm so pleased you found and read my words about your father.