Looking at Picasso

Pepe Karmel

A major new survey that offers fresh insights on artworks by one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, Pablo Picasso, written by a leading authority on the master.

As one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, Pablo Picasso’s (1881–1973) artistic achievements are unparalleled. This important new introductory monograph, released to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the artist’s death, presents the beauty, power, and multiplicity of Picasso’s work across his paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints, and offers fresh analysis of the work of this great master for a twenty-first-century audience.

Since the 1980s, most books and exhibitions on Picasso have focused on the artist’s personal relationships, specifically on the representation of his wives and mistresses. Art historian and curator Pepe Karmel shifts the debate by considering Picasso’s works first and foremost as art, explaining how the artist’s style has evolved over the course of seven decades, introducing visual languages and narratives that have transformed modern art.

Arranged chronologically by themes and movements, Looking at Picasso is profusely illustrated with renowned paintings, such as the provocative Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and the monumental war piece Guernica, as well as lesser-known works, including Picasso’s animal sculptures and his animated reinterpretation of Velázquez’s seventeenth-century masterpiece Las Meninas.

Numerous exhibitions planned for 2023 will coincide with this important and accessible volume.


A highly sophisticated comprehensive tightly edited life with excellent plates. It covers Picasso in a way that is both far reaching in exploration of the vast literature and fair-minded, a combination which is not easy to achieve… Looking at Picassso stands on its own. A model of how to do politically responsible art history, it is as good as it gets. I ended up impressed with how well [Pepe Karmel's] account of this problematic artist stood up to these present challenges.

— Counterpunch


Pepe Karmel


Pepe Karmel is associate professor at the department of art history, New York University. He is the author of Picasso and the Invention of Cubism and Abstract Art: A Global History, and has written widely on art for museum catalogs, as well as the New York Times, Art in America, and other publications. He has also curated and cocurated numerous exhibitions, including “Jackson Pollock” (MoMA, 1998) and “Dialogues with Picasso” (Museo Picasso Málaga, 2020). Karmel is the associate curator of Museo Picasso Málaga.