It reads more like a compendium of valuable snippets and insights rather than as a continuous narrative. Brassai as a photographer met Picasso in Paris and was invited by the painter to take some photographs of his work. Most of these photographs were actually of Picasso's small (and not so small) recent sculptures. It was common practice for all sorts of artists at that time(and earlier) to have professional photographs taken of their output so they could see their creations from a different, more removed perspective (vanity?). Picasso was certainly no different.
Picasso himself was an avid amateur photographer and as John Richardson has pointed out in his excellent Picasso Bio. he was not merely content to paint the paintings he also tried to somehow install himself in his pictures via self portaits with various paintings as backgrounds. The camera had become an instrument of magic tele-kinesis.
Brassai's notes show us how enthusiastic Picasso was about his new friend's talents in portraying Picasso's sculptures as if new. Brassai goes on to render much detail of the retinue of followers and sycophants that daily alighted on Picasso's doorstep in Rue Grand Augustin during those mostly war years. One sees completely how it was none other than Picasso himself who craved such fawning even if he did ignore most of their attentions.
It is obvious that Brassai wished to cause no offence with this publication as he discounts all of Picasso's nasty foibles as necessary bohemian artistic exigencies.
The book is full of wonderful photographs of the characters that came into contact with the great man as well as various photos of Picasso's studio, output and abundant clutter.
There is even a complete listing of Picasso's paint requirements. I found that fascinating. One is reminded of Marcel Duchamp's comments that all paintings are really the same in as much as they all start out as a given colour range of tubes of oil paint.
There is little humanity in the observations and maybe that is no bad thing. Picasso and Sabartes are portrayed as two scheming nuncios whose Catalan dialect was the spoken code of choice. Much is given to calcuation of Picasso's position with Byzantine nuance and deliberation. Should he sign this picture? Should he see that dealer?
Overall, a valuable addition to the ouevre on Picasso and a book that can easily be dipped into from time to time.