Times of London, where he came underrnthe editorial wing of Francis Wyndham,rna legend in Brihsh journalism. Chatwinrnranged far, and in his reportorial wanderingsrninterviewed Indira Gandhi and AndrernMalraux (among others), all thernwhile reinventing the travel genre. RememberingrnHemingway’s advice to arnyoung writer to ditch journalism as soonrnas one can, Chatwin took a sabbatical inrn1974, leaving Wyndham a terse noternreading: “Gone to Patagonia.”rnIt was Chatwin’s long-held ambihon tornvisit the sparsely populated, 800,000-rnsquare-mile amorphous region in thernsouthern reaches of Argentina and Ghile,rnending at Tierra Del Fuego: the “Land’srnEnd” of the Americas. The fruit of hisrnfour-month sojourn was In Patagoniarn(1977), a potpourri of history, archaeology,rnanthropology, and paleontology, seasonedrnwith his usual dollop of chaoticrntravel method. The book was an internationalrnbestseller and won its author numerousrnawards, including Britain’s 1978rnHavthornden Prize. To this day, it inspiresrnlegions of less talented writers andrnordinary trekkers clutching their dogearedrnpaperback copies, reinforcing thernidea that the best way to cheapen a pristinernplace with commercialization is tornwrite well of it.rnChatwin’s late 70’s trips to Brazil andrnWest Africa resulted in the short novelrnThe Viceroy ofOuidah (1980), an historicalrnfiction whose main character is the reallifernFrancisco Felix De Souza, a rags-toriches-rnand-back-to-rags figure involved inrnthe 19th-century transatlantic slave trade.rnThis dark novella has been compared tornthe works of Conrad.rnIn 1987, Chatwin published The Song-rnUnes, finally putting to good use his theoryrnof nomads: that is, how certain tribesrnliving in some of the world’s most inhospitablernplaces managed to endure, andrneven to thrive, for centuries as empiresrnand nation-states crumbled aroundrnthem. According to Nicholas Shakespeare,rnthe aborigines of the Australianrnoutback were for Chatwin “a structure onrnwhich to hang not only his nomad theories,rnbut more or less everything else inrnhis notebooks . . . whether [noted] in anrnAfghan bazaar, a Sudanese desert or arnNew York drawing room.” The 80’s alsornsaw the publication of On the Black Hillrnand Utz, two novels that garnered criticalrnacclaim.rnAt the same time, the author’s growingrnfame encouraged his worst excesses. Sexualrntourism resulted in an HIV-positiverndiagnosis in Zurich in 1986. Chahvin refusedrnto accept it; until his death threernyears later, he steadfasti}’ insisted that hernwas suffering a chronic infection causedrnby the bite of a “Chinese bat.” Duringrnthose years, Chatwin struggled to put togetherrna collection of miscellaneousrnpieces called What Am I Doing Herern(published posthumously), before dyingrnin Nice surrounded by his wife and a fewrnclose friends.rnBill Croke writes from Cody, Wyoming.rnKissing the Toadrnby Jeffrey MeyersrnThe Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Picasso,rnProvence, and Douglas Cooperrnby ]ohu RichardsonrnNew York: Random House;rn318 pp., $26.95rnJohn Richardson, the brilliant biographerrnof Picasso, resembles (by his ownrnaccount) those charming and attractivernyoung men of limited means and boundlessrnambition—right out of the novels ofrnStendhal and Balzac —who use anvrnmeans to make their way in the world.rnThe son of an English soldier, educatedrnat Stowe school and tiie Slade School ofrnArt, Richardson was invalided out of thernarmy in World War II. After failing as arnpainter, and with a trust fund of onlyrn$500 a year, he toiled away for a time asrnan industrial designer and journalist.rnIn 1949, when he was 25 years old,rnRichardson met Douglas Cooper, “arnstout pink man in a loud checked suit.”rnCooper (1911-84), the homosexual son ofrnan Australian tycoon who had made hisrnfortune in gold and real estate, was obsessedrnwith Picasso, Braque, Leger, andrnGris, and had the finest collection ofrnmodern art in England. (It would nowrnbe worth about half a billion dollars.) Arnrepulsive rotten pear of a man whornlooked for all the world like HenryrnKissinger, Cooper was consumed withrnself-hatred and seemed to identify withrnthe screeches, self-display, and wantonrnhavoc of the peacocks that decorated therngardens of his lavish French chateau. Arnwitty and clever connoisseur of art andrnartists, Cooper—who had hoped to seernmore amputees in postwar Germanv—rnwas a nasty piece of work. Both arrogantrnand sycophantic, he was also petty, malicious,rnspiteful, overbearing, greedy, andrndishonest.rnWhen someone displeased him, hernwould ring him up and shriek: “Yournfilthy little sh–!” Ironically enough, thisrnold scourge of the art world had, beforernRichardson revived him, been virtuallyrnforgotten. In a crucial passage, Richardsonrnwrites that, when they first returnedrnto Cooper’s house in a wasp-coloredrnRolls Royce and Cooper made the inevitablernpass:rnOut of courtesy and curiosity, Irnlurched upstairs after him. . . . Alcoholrnovercame my initial revulsion.rnA kiss from me, I fantasized,rnwould transform this toad into arnprince. . . . However, Douglasrnturned out to be as rubbery as arnDali biomorph. No wonder he wasrnmad at the world. This realizationrntriggered a rush of compassion,rnwhich enabled me to acquit myselfrnon this ominous night. .. . For thernnext twelve years Douglas wouldrnplay on my compassion, alternatingrncajolery with brute force, psychicrncunning with infantile bellowing.rnThe tension was often excruciating,rnbut the .. . bond forged out of arnpassionately shared experience ofrnworks of art made it all worthwhile.rnRichardson seems to have been drivenrnless by compassion than by his desire forrna hedonistic existence (back in London,rnafter a luxurious trip to Holland, hisrn”hitherto humdrum life became arnround of pleasure”) and, as the novelistrnAngus Wilson noted, bv a “fixation onrnworldly success.” To achieve these goals,rnRichardson forfeited his personal freedomrnand frequently suffered public humiliation.rnWhen he offered his ownrnopinions on art. Cooper would scream:rn”How dare you pontificate to me aboutrnLeger!” and, as if he were a housebov-, orderrnhim to get their guests a drink.rnThe toad never turned into a prince,rnand Richardson certain]}’ earned hisrnkeep. The biggest payoff was friendshiprnwith Cooper’s friend Pablo Picasso. “Forrnme this would be the greatest possiblernprivilege,” Richardson states, “and itrnwould enable me, decades later, to embarkrnon my biography of the artist withrnmore insight and sympathy than wouldrnotherwise have been possible.” Indeed,rn32/CHRONICLESrnrnrn