A LIFE OF PICASSO, VOL. I by John Richardson
Random House; 560 pages; $39.95
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was the most fertile artist of the 20th century, and immense quantities of ink have been spilt over his work. He was, you might say without too much exaggeration, both the last hero of Romantic culture and the first of the age of publicity: a prodigy of talent on permanent display in an age of mass media. No other artist, not even Michelangelo, had been famous in quite this way before.
Because his public career lasted most of the 20th century, Picasso has been...