Picasso's War Book Summary - Picasso's War Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Picasso's War summary

Hugh Eakin

How Modern Art Came to America

4.7 (193 ratings)
20 mins
Table of Contents

    Picasso's War
    Summary of 5 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 5

    A First Glimpse

    In early 1911, John Quinn stood in the small New York City art space known as 291. He was staring at a charcoal sketch known as Standing Female Nude. It was part of an exhibition of works by Pablo Picasso. The gallery was little more than a 15-square-foot loft heated by an exposed wood-burning stove. But it would go down in history as hosting the very first Picasso exhibition held in the United States.

    The pieces on display were only drawings, but they still came as a shock. Picasso was in his cubist phase – among the pioneers of the form – and many people couldn’t make heads or tails of the sharp angles and disorienting changes in perspective. Even Quinn was flummoxed by this first encounter.

    Quinn was 41 years old. He was a successful and respected lawyer by day, but he also prided himself on being at the cutting edge of culture. An Irish-American, Quinn was a well-established cultural conduit between the US, Ireland, and England. He counted the writers W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, and T. S. Eliot among his friends. He often supported these artists by promoting their work, connecting them with American publishers.

    But one thing that Quinn didn’t have access to was modern art. Sadly, most Americans were still obsessed with classical work. Even late nineteenth-century post-Impressionists like Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Paul Cézanne were largely unseen by American eyes in 1911.

    So, here Quinn was, finally setting eyes on his first Picasso. And, like we said, he was flummoxed. One critic described Standing Female Nude as looking like “a fire escape, and not a good fire escape at that.” Quinn, on the other hand, wasn’t so opposed. He wasn’t fully on board yet, either, but he recognized that Picasso was doing something remarkable. Cubism wasn’t just new, it was a daring leap forward. It was also obvious to Quinn that Picasso didn’t care about public opinion. And for that reason alone, he was deeply impressed with what he saw. Now, if only he could see more.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Picasso's War?

    Key ideas in Picasso's War

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Picasso's War about?

    Picasso’s War (2022) reveals the fascinating story behind America’s rocky relationship with modern art. It shows how a small group of individuals were able to overcome ridicule and accusations of “degenerate art” in order to turn the country into a haven for the world’s most progressive artists.

    Who should read Picasso's War?

    • History buffs
    • Fans of Pablo Picasso and modern art

    About the Author

    Hugh Eakin has been a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, and is senior editor at Foreign Affairs. He’s written extensively about art and museums for such publications as the New Yorker and Vanity Fair.

    Categories with Picasso's War

    Books like Picasso's War

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial