David Douglas Duncan was a renowned war photographer and photojournalist, who first encountered Picasso in 1956 when he infamously rang the doorbell of La Californie, the artist’s home in Cannes.
At the time, Picasso was in the bathtub and allowed Duncan to photograph him right then and there, leading to a lasting friendship that granted the photographer access into the artist’s personal life.
Over the next seventeen years, Duncan took thousands of photographs of the artist, inside his studio-homes, and of his then-unknown canvases.
In this photo collection, Picasso, age 70, was living with his second wife named Jacqueline Roque, who was forty years younger and who accompanied him until the day he died.
.Around the house were also Claude and Paloma Picasso, his children, and Francoise Gilot, who came from Paris to spend their vacations.
According to Duncan, he was given absolute access to the artist’s intimate life. There was never a “no-answer” to shooting and nothing was ever set up for better framing. Everything was spontaneous.
Picasso’s daily routine usually consisted of getting up at mid-morning, having coffee with milk, eating toast, and receiving his mail.
After a frugal lunch, he used to start working in complete isolation until late hours at night. In his studio, there were hundreds of pieces from multiple disciplines such as sculptures, ceramics, paintings, and drawings. Picasso was one of the most prolific artists in history. At his death, at age 91, he left 45,000 pieces.
Picasso had only one rule in the house: nothing could be moved. Every corner of disorder could mean for him a strange composition that only he could see and digest in his head.
The only ones who could ignore this rule were the children and the animals (among them a goat), who ran and played freely around the house.
The women in Picasso’s life played an important role in the emotional and erotic aspects of his creative expression, and the tumultuous nature of these relationships has been considered vital to his artistic process.
Many of these women functioned as muses for him, and their inclusion in his extensive oeuvre granted them a place in art history. A largely recurring motif in his body of work is the female form.
Picasso’s work is often categorized into periods. While the names of many of his later periods are debated, the most commonly accepted periods in his work are the Blue Period (1901–1904), the Rose Period (1904–1906), the African-influenced Period (1907–1909), Analytic Cubism (1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919), also referred to as the Crystal period.
Much of Picasso’s work of the late 1910s and early 1920s is in a neoclassical style, and his work in the mid-1920s often has characteristics of Surrealism. His later work often combines elements of his earlier styles.
Exceptionally prolific throughout the course of his long life, Picasso achieved universal renown and immense fortune for his revolutionary artistic accomplishments and became one of the best-known figures in 20th-century art.
Other photos of Picasson during hi creative process
(Photo credit: David Douglas Duncan Collection / Lux Magazine / Wikimedia Commons / Life Magazine).