Sir John Patrick Richardson, KBE, was a British art historian and Picasso biographer. The elder son of Sir Wodehouse Richardson, he was sent to board at two successive schools after his father’s death in 1929. When he was thirteen, he became a boarder at Stowe school, where he admired the architecture and landscape and was taught something about the work of Picasso and other innovative painters. After being invalided out of the army in the Second World War, he worked in London as an industrial designer and became friends with the painters Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud.
In 1949 Richardson met the art historian and collector Douglas Cooper and the two began a relationship that would last ten years. In 1952, he moved with Cooper to Provence, where he met several artists, including Pablo Picasso. In 1960, Richardson left Cooper and moved to New York, where he worked in the art world until retiring in 1980 to concentrate full time on writing. The first volume of his biography of Picasso was published in 1991, with subsequent volumes published in 1996 and 2007. In 2012, Richardson was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) for his services to art.
Books in order of publication:
Manet: Colour Library – 1971
A Life of Picasso, Vol. 1: The Early Years, 1881-1906 – 1991
A Life of Picasso, Vol. 2: The Painter of Modern Life, 1907-1917 – 1991
Sacred Monsters, Sacred Masters: Beaton, Capote, Dalí, Picasso, Freud, Warhol, and More – 2001
A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years: 1917-1932 – 2007
Pablo Picasso and Marie-Therese: L’Amour Fou – 2011
Picasso and Francoise Gilot: Paris-Vallauris, 1943-1953 – 2012
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: A Memoir of Picasso, Provence, and Douglas Cooper – 2017
A Life Of Picasso: The Minotaur Years: 1933-1943 – 2021