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In , he painted a beautiful portrait of himself dressed as a harlequin. The past few summers, at Vallauris, where he had a villa until recently it is not far from his present villa, above Cannes , Picasso has staged a bullfight—in the French way, with a real bull but no final death stroke—which has allowed him to indulge in a flurry of the costuming he so violently enjoys.

A Paris art magazine a few months ago printed a snapshot of him, taken in , in which he looked very unexpected indeed, for he was wearing a white yachting cap, and false whiskers and a false nose, like a circus clown of his old Montmartre days. In one way, at least, Picasso fulfills the popular notion of the conventional artist, who is always supposed to work in a studio cluttered by disorder. In every case, he has taken root where he lived.

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Though he moved out of the flat in , he held on to the place, largely as a storage depot for his thousands of pictures, until , and would not have quit it even then if he had not been forced to do so by a postwar housing-shortage law that prohibited anyone from possessing manifold dwellings in Paris. His situation, as usual, was complicated. Then, in the summer of , on his return from Royan to Nazi Paris, he began living in his new studio. The stone carvings around his handsomely proportioned studio windows are its finest relics today.

Since , however, he has lived—in his comfortable, impoverished manner—in his costly mansion in the hills above Cannes. Called the Villa Californie, it is a large, tastelessly built Edwardian house, with big salons, which are perfect for studios. It sits in a neglected garden, now ornamented with gigantic ceramic figures that he has made. His friends use them as chairs and tables. The scarce real furniture is dilapidated by use, by having frequently been moved from house to house, and by his indifference.

He inherited some good Spanish cabinets from his parents, but they have failed to survive. Around his studios, there has always been a mixture of Negro sculpture, bronze statues, pottery, broken-stringed musical instruments, and paintings—like the unsorted overflow of a provincial museum.

Besides his own canvases, he has some valuable paintings by other modern artists.

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Rousseau with a lamp. As a rule, these pictures—as well as most of his own—are posed carefully in corners, faces to the wall. The disorder in which Picasso lives is psychologically very in formative—a special, static, organized disorder, mystifying to visitors, touching to his friends. It consists of a confusing, dusty, heteroclite accretion of objects—many of them valueless, or ephemeral and kept beyond their time—behind which he seems to immure himself in order to feel at ease and resident.

It is a disarray that he studiously protects—nobody is permitted to tidy up and destroy it—and that both stimulates and comforts him. He saves everything—half-empty boxes of Spanish matches, half-filled boxes of desiccated Spanish cigars. For years, he kept an old hatbox full of superannuated neckties. In his Rue des Grands-Augustins flat, the telephone serves as a paperweight, holding down telephone bills, invitations to art exhibitions long since past, calling cards, addresses, and stray papers inscribed with special information—all impounded together so they will be handy if he ever chooses to look at them.

The mantelpiece overflows with postcards, letters, snapshots, calendars, art-sale catalogues, maybe a box of chocolates, new writing paper, and press clippings, ranged in confused, mixed piles. There are more piles of things on the tables and chairs. Because of his theory that anything not in sight is irretrievably lost, things merely go permanently astray. The pockets of his jackets are frayed by what he picks up in his peregrinations: pebbles of unlikely shapes, shells, bits of promising bone, pieces of deformed wood, sections of metal—discarded fragments that no longer look like whatever they were at first and so are free to look like something new, different, and stimulating to him.

Everything is always privileged to lie where he puts it down or where chance happens to place it, to mature in situ so that his glance can come to rest on the immobility of these surroundings he has brought to pass. It is a collection caused by nothing being thrown away. Change and organization he restricts to his art, in which he has spent his career ceaselessly reinventing, distorting, and altering the nature and appearance of life while immersed in the proved, commonplace reality of his surroundings.

If he walked by night, he usually took the same streets he had taken the night before, and the night before that. Picasso has always delighted in having people about him, like courtiers. He invites them in numbers, and often lets them wait in his untidy salon until they have grown into a small crowd. Then, instead of talking to several of them at once, he may select one person for a confidence, leading him to one side, or even taking him into an adjoining room, as a mark of favor.

Most of his life, he has worked at night, to assure himself of no human interruption at all, and this has led to his habit of rising late in the morning.

Picasso is a heavy cigarette smoker who does not inhale. He eats simply and without fine taste, possesses incomparably preserved good health, has always been a hypochondriac who once had a bit of liver trouble and an attack of sciatica , is still proud of his small hands and feet, hates old age, and has a horror of death. He is always reported as shutting off his past behind him—as having no nostalgias, and living, with almost cruel determination, only in the perpetual present, on which he has seemed to construct his life.

Yet the old friends from his youth who are still alive are, in a literal manner, daily in his thoughts. To an English friend of the younger generation he lately confided that he has the habit of repeating to himself the names of these old friends every morning. When Maurice Raynal—the noted art critic, who was for some time a member of the Montmartre group during the impoverished euphoric Bateau-Lavoir days—died recently, Picasso felt great remorse, he told his English friend.

Raynal had died on the very day Picasso forgot to mention his name in the morning. Picasso is ranked as the wittiest artist and best conversationalist since Whistler, if very different. He has become famous for his talk and what could be called his carnivorous wit, since it usually eats other people alive. He does not converse but talks solo—creatively, decisively, and fascinatingly, with wit, ideas, and odd images, his ever-present Spanish accent seasoning his phrases, which emerge in bursts.

The only attention he pays to anything that may be said in comment or reply is to change it so much, on dealing with it, as to make it unrecognizable to whoever has just said it; moreover, Picasso then holds the speaker responsible for what he has not said.

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When he has nothing to say, his silence is so profound, moody, Iberian, and oppressive that nobody else has anything to say, either. His humor is sardonic, frequently cruel, always deft, never clumsy or brutal, and is usually composed of over-sharpened truth, penetrating and painful when it strikes. He rarely misses. The oldest, most quoted of his sayings was a characterization of the late Cubist painter Marcoussis, whom Picasso accused of copying his paintings as a way of picking his brains.

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Tom augmented the Steelman to cater to his own geometry. He swapped the seat post, situated the seat forward, and switched from mm to Despite the adjustments, the bike still seemed a touch big. On group rides with the Higher Gear team, Tom was easy to spot atop his bright orange bicycle. Other riders consistently complimented the Steelman.

It was, without question, the nicest bicycle Tom had ever owned.

Everyone on the street noticed the odd couple: Chris was wearing a homemade Spider-Man costume with bright red tights and a mask; Tom was a tuxedoed groom riding piggyback on a fake bride. As he walked, the dummy groom legs bounced cartoonishly from his waist. Guffaws rang out as a stout man wearing a Chicago Bulls hat and gold chain stepped forward. Shaking his head incredulously, he grinned. By this point, he had stopped giving away the cash from his robberies. Tom exchanged the three crumpled bills for three small white rocks, each the size of half a sugar cube.

He and Chris walked away, heading into a dark alleyway, where they took swigs of whiskey. The smell was wretched. Tom exhaled. His mind went blank.

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When he regained faint awareness, he smoked more crack. Then at a nightclub a few months later, he took some ecstasy. As he danced to thumping electronica, he felt a fantastic warmth surge over his body, like a down comforter that had been pulled from the dryer. Tom began taking ecstasy every weekend. When Tom shared his grad school plans with his parents, they were optimistic. But they had no idea he was becoming dependent on drugs.


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