[intro]Biographer of Picasso, Dora Maar and Giacometti Dies at 86[/intro]
The Telegraph runs an obituary of James Lord, Dora Maar’s companion and admirer:
In December 1944 Lord – then a 22-year-old officer in the US Army intelligence service – arrived in recently-liberated Paris on a three-day pass. He located the short Rue des Grands-Augustins in Montparnasse and “braced my brashness at the pinpoint of Picasso’s doorbell”. To his astonishment he was admitted, and within minutes was having breakfast with the world’s greatest living artist. […]
For most of his life he kept a daily journal, written up at the end of each day in “a fat, black oilcloth notebook”. In it he carefully recorded (often verbatim) conversations with the clever, glamorous, talented and often indiscreet people with whom he mixed. […]
Lord became (in the words of Thornton Wilder, who met him over tea at the home of Alice B Toklas) “a sort of less vivacious Boswell” as he diligently cultivated Picasso, André Gide, Jean Cocteau and other figures of the postwar French literary and artistic elite.
He also wrote several important works about the Swiss artist and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, notably his definitive Giacometti: A Biography (1986). […]
Having revisited Giacometti in Alberto Giacometti: Drawings (1971), for which he wrote an introductory essay, in 1986 Lord published a full-length biography to near-universal praise. Fifteen years in the writing, it explored the artist’s troubled personality and creative struggles. Stressing the artist’s half-amused despair at his continuous inability to capture precisely what he wanted, Lord included a highly personal account of the 18 sessions he spent sitting for a portrait by the artist, whom he encouraged to talk by asking pointed questions.
James Lord (Telegraph)