From 1950 to 1962, the author lived near Picasso in France and was a friend of the artist. With a view to writing a biography, the art historian kept a diary of their meetings. After Picasso's death, his widow Jacqueline collaborated in the preparation of this work, giving the author access to the artist's studio and papers. Volume one of this four volume biography establishes the complexity of Picasso's Spanish roots; his aversion to his native Malaga and his passion for Barcelona and Catalan modernisme . The author introduces new material on the artist's early training in religious art; re-examines old legends to provide fresh insights into the artistic failures of Picasso's father as an impetus to his sons's triumphs; and includes portraits of Apollinaire, Max Jacob and Gertrude Stein, who made up The Picasso Gang in Paris during the Blue and Rose periods. The author was awarded the 1991 Whitbread Biography of the year Award for this book.