Modern Languages and Literatures, Department of


Date of this Version

July 1998


Published in ROMANCE QUARTERLY 45:3 (Summer 1998). Copyright (c) 1998 Marshall C. Olds


Let us turn to what might at first seem the improbable encounter between Stéphane Mallarmé and Pablo Picasso. On the face of it, so much separates them: the one patiently mining a limited set of aesthetic notions, spending years perfecting some of his major works, the other incessantly exploring all possibilities of visual representation, moving through styles sometimes weekly, creating prodigiously in different media, living dozens of careers. In their separate ways, though, they both were extreme examples of creativity. Whether or not for that reason, Picasso turned toward (if not to) Mallarmé at two distinct points in his career: in 1912–16 toward the end of the cubist-collage years, and again 30 years later at the Liberation of Paris.