The communication aims to provide an analysis of the book Picasso’s Lives by Josep Palau i Fabre, good and proposing to what extent a biographical essay like this can aspire to be considered “pure”. Picasso’s Lives is the first work that Palau wrote about Picasso. He did so in Paris during the spring of 1946, just after settling down in the French capital, the period in which the artist self-defined “self-exile”. Palau, however, didn’t meet Picasso personally until May 1947. Therefore, the subtitle of the work is surprising, «Essay of pure biography», given that Picasso’s Lives had been written prior to the biographer and its subject knowing each other. Nevertheless, the interest of Palau in the work of Picasso dates back a long way.
In this first book, which wasn’t published for the first time until 1962, Palau proposes approaching the work of Picasso, as well as his personality and his creative process, which ends up anyway in the work, based on the personal and subjective view of the artist. By means of fifteen chapters which were very different between them, Palau offers a kaleidoscopic and labyrinthine tour around the work of Picasso. In this way, Palau tried to represent in a literary way some of the essential conceptions that can be found behind the work of the artist. In this regard, the formal and thematic disparity of Picasso’s Lives turns the book into a literary expression of the figure and work of Picasso. And, at the same time, Picasso’s Lives subtly highlights some of the essential conceptions that can be found in the background of the work of Palau i Fabra himself: the “purity” with which the book was written, reveals some of the conceptions of Palau about literary and artistic creation. Conceptions that, to a certain extent, emerge from the work itself of Picasso. Therefore, Picasso’s Lives is also an example of the desire for assimilation, alienation, of the biographer Palau i Fabre towards the subject of the biography, Picasso.