Georges Tabaraud was a journalist in the Parisian pre-war press, and was active in the French Résistance before becoming, just before liberation, the editor-in-chief of the Patriote and then its director in 1977. « For those 33 years, I loved the job, with its days of glory, days of anger, its failures and successes, it's great illusions and immense joys », he wrote in his « paper »
entitled Memories of the Good Years. He immediately added : I owe my meeting with Picasso to my newspaper. It lit up my life ».
Georges and Pablo is an incredible story of a young journalist who had just come out of the French communist resistance movement, was the only person available at the newspaper on a
sunny day in August 1946 to go and meet, on a beach in the Juan Gulf, the Spanish genuis who, having joined the French Communist Party, had just moved to the French Riviera with the dazzling Françoise Gilot. « That was an extraordinary day for me, full of joy and admiration ; I discovered in this man that I had feared meeting, a fraternity, a kindness, a warmth that I had never imagined. I thought when I left him that I would never dare come
back », he says in an astonishing book full of memories of this deep friendship that developed between the two of them, almost certainly right from this first contact (My Picasso Years, Plon, 2002).
From then on, Georges Tabaraud was the key witness to the last, and particularly eventful, third of Pablo Picasso's life. He witnessed parties given in his honour at Vallauris in the company of Aragon, Cocteau, Prévert, his militantism in favour of peace with the creation in particular of the famous dove, but also the crises with the French Communist Party, for example during the affair of Stalin's portrait, and the more personal dramas like his separation
from Françoise. The journalist was always on the alert, the Patriote having become « Picasso's newspaper », particularly during every Nice Carnival, and he closely followed this period in Vallauris and Antibes, a period that was extremely creative and during which the artist discovered the creative possibilities offered by linocuts and ceramics, and produced his
famous War and Peace painting on hardboard panels.
« Picasso was aware of the problems of « his » newspaper : he regularly asked me about the financial situation. For tough financial deadlines he would donate an original lithograph, giving us the rights to sell the print. There was « Bacchanal » in 1957, « The Horsewoman » in 1960, « Footballers » in 1961, « Still Life with Watermelon» in 1962, « The Old King » in 1964. Picasso's relationship to the press can't be looked at without mentioning the generosity
of these donations…
…In January 1958, as part of this financial support, Picasso returned to the subject of the Carnival for the paper with a beautiful « Jester », crowned with small bells and waving a rattle in a shower of confetti. From 1958 to 1967, 9 other pages were published from Carnival to Carnival. From 1963 on, linocuts, printed by the Arnéra studio in Vallauris, alternated with lithographs from Merlot. They testified to Picasso's enthusiasm for a material
that had long been known, but which had to be applied to the fine arts by discovering new means of using it at the service of his creative bulimia. The change is obvious in the use of full, relatively severe backgrounds for the pages of 1963 and 1965, whereas in 1967 he freely used his playful instinct, his taste for dance and the derision of a self-portrait ; A masterpiece…
…This series of 10 pages on the Carnival, with their variations in theme and style, are an important testimony to his printmaking work. » (1)
(1) Georges Tabaraud, Picasso and the Press. A painter in history, Cercle d'Art and Humanité
Georges Tabaraud Collection (given by the artist)
Private Collection, France
Mon ami Picasso (My Friend Picasso). Works from the Georges Tabaraud Colleciton, Le
Mazeau, Limoges, June 1986
La collection d'une amitié (The Collection of a Friendship). Drawings and prints by Pablo
Picasso from the Georges Tabaraud Collection, Colombier Museum, Alès, June 1988
Pablo Picasso. Drawings and prints by Pablo Picasso from the Georges Tabaraud Collection,
Vaison-la-Romaine, July - August 1997
Les Estampes de Picasso (Picasso's Prints), Ribérac Cultural Centre, Notre-Dame Collegiate,
July - August 2002
Mes années Picasso (My Picasso Years). Based on the book by Georges Tabaraud, galerie
Cazeau-Béraudière, Paris, September - October 2002.