Title page from Le Chant des Morts (The Song of the Dead), 1948

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Le Chant des Morts was Picasso's only book project with the Greek publisher and critic Tériade. The 43 poems by Pierre Reverdy, a writer and critic associated with the Surrealist movement, had just been completed in 1945 and called for a radical, new type of illustration. In the manner of old illuminated manuscripts, Picasso encircled the text with scroll-like lines, many resembling oriental calligraphy. The abstracted designs are like timeless symbols, reflecting the almost religious character of Reverdy's poems. Prior to this, no one had considered illustrating a modern text with such bold and unconventional markings.

Title page from Le Chant des Morts (The Song of the Dead)
Artist Life
(active France), 1881–1973
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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