Printed in Ashton_Picasso on Art: A Selection of Views_ (Da Capo Press Inc., 1972), 51-53
In Picasso on Art a section is dedicated to Picasso's views on those who imitated him and those that he imitated. My of his quotes show that he believed in the art of copying for himself as well as others.
"What does it mean," says Picasso, "for a painter to paint in the manner of So-and
-So or to actually imitate someone else? What's wrong with that? On the contrary,
it's a good idea. You should constantly try to paint like someone else. But the
thing is, you can't! You would like to. You try. But it turns out to be a botch…and
it's at the very moment you make a botch of it that you're yourself." (Parmelin,
When reading this quote any artist would realize the importance of imitating. It is the realization that in order to make a work one's own he mustfirst try to replicate a master, which, according to Picasso is a false hope. At the moment the imitator makes a mess of his replication, it is when he comes into his own as an artist. He has taken the work of another and made it his own. Another quote on Imitators:
"Ha!" exclaimed Picasso, "do you think I paint for those people at the Rotonde?…
It's too bad if they're still there, let them walk in their own shit. Since I now have
"All right! Disciples if you like. But disciples be damned. It's not interesting. It's
only the masters that matter. Those who create. And they don't even turn around
when you piss on their heels…" (Georges-Michel, 1954, pages 94-95)
In the beginning of this quote Picasso buys into the old saying that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Now that he has this glory he paints only for himse