Age-old dilemma of when to leave the stage | Comment

INn the Picasso museum in Paris are paintings from the great artist’s last exhibition. Always prolific, his final spurt of creativity aged 90 was truly phenomenal: hundreds of canvases in a new style and palette. Yet they are, even a lay person can see, terrible. “One enters in homage,” wrote the Hour magazine reviewer in 1973, “and leaves in embarrassment.”

Picasso, who could generate beauty with a fishbone from his dinner plate or in a single fluid line, must have known these garish, wonky works looked like pastiche tourist tat. But he kept churning them out until almost the day he died.

Why do artists continue when their talents have peaked, when their critical inner voice must be shrieking that these pictures or songs or

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