Picasso and David Douglas Duncan met in Febreraury, 1956. David was on his way home from Afghanistan. Picasso was sitting in his bathtub at home in the south of France.  That was the first photograph of tens of thousands taken during the next 17 years, an estimated 50,000 photographs, when Duncan often shared the simple meals, the constant work, the gaiety, the countless explosions of creativity. After other guests had gone, Duncan still reminded in the studio, by now his second home.

picasso in la villa californie

pablo picasso wearing a mask

pablo picasso eating fish with his hands

Jacqueline Roque, had greeted at him at the door at that first meeting. “Without a word she took me by the hand,” he said. “We went past a goat called Esmeralda on the stairs, through a sitting room with a couple of sketches on the wall, through a dark corridor and there was Picasso, just sitting there in a bathtub.”

villa la californie cannes france

people wearing masks

While photographing hundreds of Picasso´s paintings, surrounded by a myriad other works that overflowed the studio, Duncan also recorded many of the emotion charged events at the heart of the house hold.

cocteau in picasso's studio photographed by duncan

Goodbye Picasso (1974), is Duncan’s third book on Pablo Picasso. By the end of his career he came to publish a total of seven titles on the artist: The Private World of Pablo Picasso (1958), Picasso’s Picassos (1961), Viva Picasso (1980), Picasso and Jacqueline (1988), Picasso Paints a Portrait (1996) and Picasso & Lump (2006).

picasso and jacqueline by duncan sitting

Using a custom-built, silent-shutter camera to avoid bothering the artist, Duncan captured the artist painting, dancing in his underwear or jumping rope with his two young children.

pablo picasso smoking in his garden

picasso bathtub

men moving furniture

artistis in pensive pose

picasso in his living room by diuncan

picasso and jacqueline posing for duncan

jacqueline and picasso in his studio moving canvases

picasso intervention on duncan's photo

dachshund dog with picasso in underwear

Duncan’s pet dachshund, Lump ended up living with the artist for six years and was featured in 15 of his “Las Meninas” paintings, reworkings of a piece Velázquez.

double exposure

In April 12th, 1957, Duncan wrote in his private notes : “I’ve been practically living in his villa! The fine friendship that started after Afghanistan has developed into a nearly open passport to his home and studio. It’s strange but after a day with him I’m exhausted, as though I’ve done more than just an ordinary day’s shooting”.

pablo picasso at work in his studio

picasso show in a cathedral france

close up portraits 70s Duncan

double exposure

double exposure

doble exposure

Formidable Mag would like to thank The Robert Munford Estate for access to its archive and library.