Who is this Spanish upstart about whom I have been hearing so much? Could this Picasso boy be that handsome dark-haired kid I’ve seen hanging around in the neighborhood in Montmartre? Why is he in Paris anyway? Is he spying on me?
I think one of his lady friends–and from what I hear, he is a bit of a ladies man—is friends with my model Benedetta Canals. I am beginning to wonder if the two women have not, in fact, visited my studio together and are reporting back to him about what I am working on. I’ve heard that Picasso is looking at my work and taking it as a challenge to create his own, trying to best me. Well, we’ll have to see about that! A bold proposition by the young man, to say the least.
I’ve been looking at Picasso lately, and I see that he is certainly a talented draftsman. His figure drawings are quite remarkable and show incredible technical skill—and perhaps a touch of artistic promise.
I’ve seen his portrait of Sebastià Junyer I Vidal—obviously a rip off of my painting, In a Café. But perhaps I have dismissed our friend too quickly; this painting of his is really quite bold and impressive. Interesting how he makes the gentleman the focus of the painting, as opposed to the young prostitute, and the direct stare of his subject is captivating.
This young Picasso seems fascinated with women doing their hair, which is a subject that I am very familiar with myself. And, again, he seems to have been looking at my work and trying to make it his own. He has done a massive painting of a woman wringing her hair that is admittedly striking. It seems he painted it quickly but with much passion. Also, much as I often do with my own work, he has gone back to it a number of times. Most remarkable is the way in which he uses geometric shapes and abstraction to depict this woman—Although I wonder what the model thinks…
OK, so maybe this young Spaniard bears watching. And if he insists on peeking in on me, I will have to keep an eye on him as well.