The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

July 7, 2013

July 7, 1906

Max Jacob wrote to Picasso in a note dated,  July 7, 1906, and in reference to drawings he had seen"...You are augmenting, very much like music, your sense of grandeur and respect for the human person....Your model this time has a special grace which is altogether enchanting. " Max had introduced Picasso to the French art scene, and helped him with the language when Picasso first arrived in Paris. They would remain friends their whole lives. Not so with the model.

The model Jacob noticed was Fernande Olivier, (1881 to 1966.)  She was Picasso's first major love.  Fernande and Picasso were together from 1905 to 1912. She at the time they met was a familiar face in the run down Montmarte district, a beautiful face, and Picasso pressed his suit by pressing a kitten into her hands the first time they met. Their stormy relation was such that Picasso is said to have locked her into the studio at times, to ensure her fidelity. Their time together was the time the world was discovering Pablo Picasso.

He left her and became very wealthy. After their separation she declined into a poverty unrelieved by youthful beauty, and the anxiety such brings. In 1933 she published Picasso et ses amis, a book of memoirs. Picasso was furious. In 1956, through the medium of mutual acquaintances, Picasso agreed to pay her a small pension to keep her from publishing more about their live together.

We learned  these details from a review Diane Johnson (novelist of books with acute sociological insights, like Le Divorce) wrote in the New York Times about a book published in 2001:  Loving Picasso: The Private Journal of Fernande Olivier.

This book combines her memoirs with the diaries which her godson had excerpted in 1988 under the title Souvenirs intimes. The book includes new continuity text and photographs. The originals of Olivier's diaries have

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