Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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David Douglas Duncan


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Follow link for an enlarged imageGoodbye Picasso (1974) / view images from this book

From the book jacket text:
It began in February, 1956 — this bond between two artists. The American photographer was on his way home from Afghanistan. The Spanish painter was sitting in his bathtub at home in the south of France: Voilà! . . . the first Picasso photograph of tens of thousands taken during the next seventeen years when David Douglas Duncan often shared the simple meals, the constant work, the gaiety, the countless explosions of creativity. After other guests had gone, Duncan still remained in the studio — by now his second home. Thus was born a friendship unique in the lives of both men. Two minds, two hearts, each discovering a special communication with the other. While photographing hundreds of Picasso's paintings, surrounded by myriad other works that overflowed the studio, Duncan also recorded many of the emotion-charged events at the heart of the household.

Now, from this once in each lifetime relationship, we have the third, ultimate book which Duncan has created dealing with his neighbor, Pablo Picasso. It is at once a profoundly personal story of the last years of the great painter, an enrichening journey of discovery through the canvases he withheld during his lifetime and a photographic epic born of the comradeship shared between two men, whose separate images of the world have changed our own way of perceiving.

Goodbye Picasso reveals the simplicity and genius of Picasso's life and art. Photographed, written, designed and produced by Duncan with a devotion that comes from the most deeply felt and personally shared experiences, Goodbye Picasso glows with that special quality of his world.

Seeing Pablo Picasso and his work through the eyes and heart of David Douglas Duncan is seeing Picasso perhaps as the ages will come to know him best.

Picasso drawing his self-portrait as an owl with holes for his eyes, which are part of a photograph by author David Douglas Duncan. The photo-collage by the two artist-friends is reproduced, here as the jacket design for Goodbye Picasso.

The book's cover cloth is of jute from Bangladesh. Loomed in England, dyed to match the background found in Picasso's painting on Page 140 (the title-ink color was matched to the lilac highlight seen at the top of the beret in the portrait) it "would have become a suit for Picasso had he managed to get his hands on it," according to Duncan.