TJ Clark – Was Picasso a Woman?: Reflections on Nude, Green Leaves and Bust

Event Date: 7 June 2013

Room B34, Main Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX

The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities presents:

Professor TJ Clark  (Berkeley) – Was Picasso a Woman?: Reflections on Nude, Green Leaves and Bust

Chair: Professor Lynda Nead (Birkbeck)


Picasso once claimed that, artistically speaking, “I am a woman”. He went on to argue that any genuine (male) artist sought to depict the (female) object of desire as a woman might desire it. This line of thought seems linked to Picasso’s favourite quote from Rimbaud: “I is someone else”. How seriously should we take this sketched-out theory of sameness and difference in representation? How does it apply to Picasso’s actual work? Can it be reconciled with Picasso’s further remark: “Au fond, il n’y a que l’amour”?


This lecture will launch TJ Clark’s new book Picasso and Truth: From Cubism to Guernica (pub Princeton University Press) and will be followed by a drinks reception.


T. J. Clark was born in Bristol, England in 1943, took a B.A. in Modern History at Cambridge, and a Ph.D. in Art History at the Courtauld Institute, University of London.  He has taught at various places in England and the USA, and from1988 on at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair Emeritus.  Clark is the author of a series of books on the social character and formal dynamics of modern art, The Absolute Bourgeois: Artists and Politics in France 1848-1851 (1973), Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution (1973), The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers (1984), and Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism (1999); as well as Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War (written with “Retort”, 2005), and The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing (2006).  His Picasso and Truth:  From Cubism to Guernica (Princeton University Press) is published in June 2013, along with a book accompanying an exhibition at Tate Britain, Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life (Tate Publishing).  Book and exhibition are co-authored with Anne M. Wagner.

Introduction by Professor Lynda Nead (Birkbeck).





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