The Postcards That Picasso Illustrated and Sent to Jean Cocteau, Apollinaire & Gertrude Stein

picasso postcard 1

Pablo Picasso’s coterie of friends and col­lab­o­ra­tors was vast and glam­orous. Fol­low­ing his move to France, Picas­so befriend­ed the flam­boy­ant Russ­ian bal­let impre­sario Serge Diaghilev, whose Bal­lets Russ­es sets he went on to design, and whose pri­ma bal­le­ri­na Picas­so went on to mar­ry. Picas­so also became friends with com­posers (such as Igor Stravin­sky) and emi­nent painters, includ­ing his Cubist broth­er-in-arms Georges Braques, and his com­pa­tri­ot, Juan Gris.

Today, we bring you a num­ber of the post­cards that Picas­so sent to his friends, many of which he per­son­al­ly illus­trat­ed, quick­ly dash­ing off a note or a pic­ture in a loose, wavy script. Above, you can view an image of Picasso’s post­card to his close friend and artist, Jean Cocteau, depict­ing the bal­cony at No. 10, Rue d’Anjou, where Cocteau’s moth­er had an apart­ment.  Below, you can view a sketch Picas­so sent off to the fore­fa­ther of the Sur­re­al­ist move­ment, his rotund friend and poet Guil­laume Apol­li­naire. The mes­sage reads, blunt­ly, “I don’t see you any­more. Are you dead?”

Picasso à Apollinaire

In the length­i­est of the post­cards, dat­ing from 1919 and pro­vid­ed by Some­thing Rich & Strange, Picas­so writes to Gertrude Sein, per­haps describ­ing a hol­i­day:

picasso to stein

“Mais non Gertrude,

il n’y a pas des mouch­es et je n’ai vu encore qu’un mous­tique, que j’ai tué d’ailleurs.  Ecrives si le couer vous dit.  Milles bonnes choses de nous deux a vous [et mlle Tok­las]

votre Picas­so.


“No, Gertrude,

there are no flies, and I haven’t seen more than one mos­qui­to, which I killed, any­way.  Write me if the mood strikes. All the best to you and Ms. Tok­las.

Yours, Picas­so”

Inter­est­ed read­ers may pur­chase a col­lec­tion of Picasso’s post­cards on Ama­zon.

Ilia Blin­d­er­man is a Mon­tre­al-based cul­ture and sci­ence writer. Fol­low him at @iliablinderman, or read more of his writ­ing at the Huff­in­g­ton Post.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Six Post­cards From Famous Writ­ers: Hem­ing­way, Kaf­ka, Ker­ouac & More

Watch Icon­ic Artists at Work: Rare Videos of Picas­so, Matisse, Kandin­sky, Renoir, Mon­et, Pol­lock & More

Picas­so Paint­ing on Glass

by | Permalink | Comments (3) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (3)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.