The earliest pictures in Picasso’s Drawings, 1890-1921 (Yale Univ., $60) were done by a nine-year-old boy. The thirty years this volume covers mark the artist’s formative years, showing him determined to master his craft, and the initial pieces lead to work reflecting Picasso’s absorption of the Old Masters, artists from whom he was willing to learn even as he experimented to improve his style and execution. As the book’s editors, Susan Grace Galassi and Mary McCully point out, Picasso was able to borrow from his predecessors, improve on them, and forge something entirely his own. That is why his work continues to amaze us.
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