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.

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