In 1978, while collecting documentary photographs of the artists' community in Montparnasse from the first decades of the century, Billy Klüver discovered that some previously unassociated photographs fell into significant groupings. One group in particular, showing Picasso, Max Jacob, Moïse Kisling, Modigliani, and others at the Café de la Rotonde and on Boulevard du Montparnasse, all seemed to have been taken on the same day. Biographical research led Klüver to focus on the summer of 1916 as the likely time the photos were taken. Further investigation eventually allowed him to identify the photographer as Jean Cocteau and to determine the day that Cocteau had taken the photographs: August 12, 1916. In a tour de force of art historical research, Klüver then reconstructed a scenario of the events of the four hours depicted in the photographs—and re-created a single afternoon in the lives of Picasso and friends, a group of remarkable people in early-twentieth-century Paris.
"An amazing feat of detective work."
—Michael FitzGerald, Artforum's Bookforum
"Very amusing and almost wildly ingenious."
—Rosamond Bernier, New York Times Book Review
Best Critical Study, 1998 Golden Light Book Awards sponsored by the Maine Photographic Workshops