Life surprised him

To Malraux, Picasso's genius was his unending self-questioning, his incessant challenging of himself and his creation. His style is both a continuation of styles and his overcoming these styles. Malraux quotes him saying, "Down with style! Does God have a style?" and says that while Picasso was painting Guernica, he told him he had discovered what to expect from painting in the Greek Bronze Age Cycladic "frying pan" pottery and, especially, in a flat "violinwoman" terra-cotta fetish.

'Life surprised him. When he was out walking and stopped talking to tear off a branch or to pick up a stone, he wasn't looking for a model but wondering, "What can I do with this?" What he meant-he rarely developed his striking quips and sallies-was probably: "I am wondering how this object can help me shatter painting or sculpture." The branch appeared in [Picasso's 1943 plaster] Femme au feuillage, conniving with geometric forms. He hadn't taken the stone home to admire it, but to make an imprint of it. His "I'm looking for things, I discover things," may not express haughtiness but wonderment.'

—from Malraux: A Biography by Axel Madsen (read it)

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