Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula
Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973) was
an Andalusian-Spanishpainter, draughtsman,
As one of the most recognized figures in twentieth-century art, he is best known for
co-founding the Cubistmovement and for the wide variety of styles embodied in his work. Among his
most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) and
his depiction of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil
War, Guernica (1937)
Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José
Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima TrinidadClito, a series of names honouring various saints and relatives. Added to these
were Ruíz and Picasso, for his father and mother, respectively, as per Spanish
custom. Born in the city of Málaga in the Andalusian region of Spain, he was the first child of Don José Ruiz y Blasco (1838–1913) and María
Picasso y López. Picasso’s family was middle-class; his father was also a
painter who specialized in naturalistic depictions of birds and other game. For
most of his life Ruiz was a professor of art at the School of Crafts and a curatorof a local museum. Ruiz’s ancestors were minor aristocrats.
The young Picasso showed a passion
and a skill for drawing from an early age; according to his mother, his first
words were “piz, piz”, a shortening of lápiz, the Spanish word for
‘pencil’. From the age of seven, Picasso received formal artistic training from
his father in figure drawing and oil painting. Ruiz was a traditional, academic
artist and instructor who believed that proper training required disciplined
copying of the masters, and drawing the human body from plaster casts and live
models. His son became preoccupied with art to the detriment of his classwork.
The family moved to La Coruñain 1891 so his father could become a professor at the School of Fine Arts. They
stayed almost four years. On one occasion the father found his son painting over
his unfinished sketch of a pigeon. Observing the precision of his son’s
technique, Ruiz felt that the thirteen-year-old Picasso had surpassed him, and
vowed to give up painting.
In 1895, Picasso's seven-year old
sister, Conchita, died of diphtheria—a traumatic event in his life. After her death, the
family moved to Barcelona, with Ruiz transferring to its School of Fine Arts.
Picasso thrived in the city, regarding it in times of sadness or nostalgia as
his true home. Ruiz persuaded the officials at the academy to allow his son to
take an entrance exam for the advanced class. This process often took students
a month, but Picasso completed it in a week, and the impressed jury admitted
Picasso, who was still 13. The student lacked discipline but made friendships
that would affect him in later life. His father rented him a small room close
to home so Picasso could work alone, yet Ruiz checked up on him numerous times
a day, judging his son’s drawings. The two argued frequently.
Picasso’s father and uncle decided to
send the young artist to Madrid’s Royal Academy of San Fernando,
the foremost art school in the country. In 1897, Picasso, age 16, set off for
the first time on his own. Yet his difficulties accepting formal instruction
led him to stop attending class soon after enrollment. Madrid, however, held
many other attractions: the Prado housed paintings by the venerable Diego
Velázquez, Francisco Goya, and Francisco Zurbarán. Picasso especially admired
the works of El Greco;
their elements, like elongated limbs, arresting colors, and mystical visages,
are echoed in Picasso’s œuvre.
After studying art in Madrid, Picasso
made his first trip to Paris in 1900, then the art capital of Europe. There, he
met his first Parisian friend, the journalist and poet Max Jacob,
who helped Picasso learn the language and its literature. Soon they shared an
apartment; Max slept at night while Picasso slept during the day and worked at
night. These were times of severe poverty, cold, and desperation. Much of his
work had to be burned to keep the small room warm. During the first five months
of 1901, Picasso lived in Madrid, where he and his anarchistfriend Francisco de Asís Soler founded the magazine Arte Joven (Young
Art), which published five issues. Soler solicited articles and Picasso
illustrated the journal, mostly contributing grim cartoons depicting and
sympathizing with the state of the poor. The first issue was published on 31
March 1901, by which time the artist had started to sign his work simply Picasso,
while before he had signed Pablo Ruiz y Picasso.
In the early twentieth century,
Picasso divided his time between Barcelonaand Paris. In 1904, inthe middle of a storm, he met Fernande Olivier, a Bohemian artist who became
his mistress. Olivier appears in many of his Rose period
paintings. After acquiring fame and some fortune, Picasso left Olivier for
Marcelle Humbert, whom he called Eva Gouel. Picasso included declarations of
his love for Eva in many Cubist works. Picasso was devastated by her premature
death from illness at the age of 30
By 1905 Picasso became a favorite of
the American art collectors Leo and Gertrude
Stein. Their older brother Michael Stein and his wife Sarah also
became collectors of his work. Picasso painted portraits of both Gertrude Stein
and her nephew Allan Stein.Gertrude Stein began acquiring his drawings and paintings and exhibiting them
in her informal Salon at her home in Paris. At one of her gatherings in
1905 he met Henri Matisse who was to become a lifelong
friend and rival. The Steins introduced him to Claribel Coneand her sister Etta who were American art collectors; who also began to acquire
Picasso and Matisse's paintings. Eventually Leo Stein moved to Italy, and
Michael and Sarah Stein became patrons of Matisse; while Gertrude Stein
continued to collect Picasso.
In 1907 Picasso joined the art
gallery that had recently been opened in Paris by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Kahnweiler was a
German art historian, art collector who became one of the premier French Art dealersof the 20th century. He became prominent in Paris beginning in 1907 for being
among the first champions of Pablo Picasso, Georges
Braque and Cubism. Kahnweiler championed burgeoning artists such as André Derain,Kees Van
Dongen, Fernand Léger, Juan Gris,Maurice de Vlaminck and several others who had
come from all over the globe to live and work in Montparnasseat the time.
In Paris, Picasso entertained a
distinguished coterie of friends in the Montmartreand Montparnasse quarters, including André Breton,
poet Guillaume Apollinaire, writer Alfred Jarry,
and Gertrude Stein. Apollinaire was arrested on suspicion of stealingthe Mona Lisafrom the Louvrein 1911. Apollonaire pointed to his friend Picasso, who was also brought in for
questioning, but both were later exonerated.
He maintained a number of mistresses
in addition to his wife or primary partner. Picasso was married twice and had
four children by three women. In the summer of 1918, Picasso married Olga
Khokhlova, a ballerina with Sergei
Diaghilev’s troupe, for whom Picasso was designing a ballet, Parade,
in Rome; and they spent their honeymoon in the villa near Biarritz of the
glamorous Chilean art patron Eugenia Errázuriz. Khokhlova introduced Picasso
to high society, formal dinner parties, and all the social niceties attendant
on the life of the rich in 1920s Paris. The two had a son, Paulo, who would
grow up to be a dissolute motorcycle racer and chauffeur to his father. Khokhlova’s
insistence on social propriety clashed with Picasso’s bohemiantendencies and the two lived in a state of constant conflict. During the same
period that Picasso collaborated with Diaghilev’s troup, he and Igor
Stravinsky collaborated on Pulcinella in 1920. Picasso took the
opportunity to make several sketches of the composer. In 1927 Picasso met 17
year old Marie-Thérèse Walter and began a secret
affair with her. Picasso’s marriage to Khokhlova soon ended in separation
rather than divorce, as French law required an even division of property in the
case of divorce, and Picasso did not want Khokhlova to have half his wealth.
The two remained legally married until Khokhlova’s death in 1955. Picasso
carried on a long-standing affair with Marie-Thérèse Walter and fathered a
daughter, Maia, with her. Marie-Thérèse lived in the vain hope that Picasso
would one day marry her, and hanged herself four years after Picasso’s death.
The photographer and painter Dora Maarwas also a constant companion and lover of Picasso. The two were closest in the
late 1930s and early 1940s and it was Maar who documented the painting of Guernica.
During the Second World War, Picasso
remained in Paris while the Germans occupied the city. Picasso’s artistic style
did not fit the Naziviews of art, so he was not able to show his works during this time. Retreating
to his studio, he continued to paint all the while. Although the Germans
outlawed bronzecasting in Paris, Picasso continued regardless, using bronze smuggled to him by
the French resistance.
After the liberation of Paris in 1944, Picasso began to
keep company with a young art student, Françoise
Gilot. The two eventually became lovers, and had two children
together, Claude and Paloma. Unique among Picasso’s women, Gilot
left Picasso in 1953, allegedly because of abusive treatment and infidelities.
This came as a severe blow to Picasso.
He went through a difficult period
after Gilot’s departure, coming to terms with his advancing age and his
perception that, now in his 70s, he was no longer attractive, but rather
grotesque to young women. A number of ink drawings from this period explore
this theme of the hideous old dwarf as buffoonish counterpoint to the beautiful
young girl, including several from a six-week affair with Geneviève Laporte, who in June 2005 auctioned
off the drawings Picasso made of her.
Picasso was not long in finding
another lover, Jacqueline Roque. She worked at the Madoura
Pottery in Vallauris on the French Riviera, where Picasso made and painted
ceramics. The two remained together for the rest of Picasso’s life, marrying in
1961. Their marriage was also the means of one last act of revenge against
Gilot. Gilot had been seeking a legal means to legitimize her children with
Picasso, Claude and Paloma. With Picasso’s encouragement, she had arranged to
divorce her then husband, Luc Simon, and marry Picasso to secure her children’s
rights. Picasso then secretly married Roque after Gilot had filed for divorce
in order to exact his revenge for her leaving him.
Picasso had constructed a huge gothic structure and could afford large villas
in the south of France, at Notre-dame-de-vie on the outskirts of Mougins, in
the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. By this time
he was a celebrity, and there was often as much interest in his personal life
as his art.
In addition to his manifold artistic
accomplishments, Picasso had a film career, including a cameo appearance in Jean Cocteau’sTestament of Orpheus. Picasso always played himself in his film
appearances. In 1955 he helped make the film Le Mystère Picasso(The
Mystery of Picasso) directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot.
Pablo Picasso died on 8 April 1973 inMougins,
France, while he and his wife Jacqueline entertained friends for dinner. His
final words were “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink any
more.” He was interred at Castle Vauvenargues’ park, in Vauvenargues, Bouches-du-Rhône. Jacqueline Roque prevented
his children Claude and Paloma from attending the funeral. Devastated and
lonely after the death of Picasso Jacqueline Roque took her own life by gunshot
in 1986 when she was 60 years old.
Picasso remained neutral during World War I,
the Spanish Civil War, and World War II,
refusing to fight for any side or country. Some of his contemporaries felt that
his pacifismhad more to do with cowardice than principle. An article in The New
Yorker called him “a coward, who sat out two world wars while
his friends were suffering and dying”.As a Spanish citizen living in France,
Picasso was under no compulsion to fight against the invading Germansin either World War. In the Spanish Civil War, service for Spaniards living
abroad was optional and would have involved a voluntary return to the country
to join either side. While Picasso expressed anger and condemnation of Francisco
Franco and fascists through his art, he did not take up arms against
them. He also remained aloof from the Catalanindependence movement during his youth despite expressing general support and
being friendly with activists within it.
In 1944 Picasso joined the French Communist Party, attended an
international peace conference in Poland, and in 1950 received the Stalin Peace
Prize from the Soviet government. But party criticism of a portrait
of Stalinas insufficiently realistic cooled Picasso’s interest in communist politics,
though he remained a loyal member of the Communist Party until his death. In a
1945 interview with Jerome Seckler, Picasso stated: “I am a Communist and my
painting is Communist painting. … But if I were a shoemaker, Royalist or
Communist or anything else, I would not necessarily hammer my shoes in a
special way to show my politics.” His Communist militancy, not uncommon among
intellectuals and artists at the time although it was officially banned in Francoist
Spain, has long been the subject of some controversy; a notable
source or demonstration thereof was a sarcastic quote commonly attributed to Salvador Dalí(with whom Picasso had a rather strained relationship), ostensibly casting
doubt on the true honesty of his political allegiances:
Picasso es pintor, yo también; [...] Picasso es español, yo también;
Picasso es comunista, yo tampoco.
(Picasso is a painter, so am I; [...] Picasso is Spanish, so am I;
Picasso is a communist, neither am I.)
He was against the intervention of
Nations and the United Statesin the Korean civil
war and he depicted it in Massacre in
Korea. In 1962, he received the International
Lenin Peace Prize.
Picasso’s work is often categorized
into periods. While the names of many of his later periods are debated, the
most commonly accepted periods in his work are the Blue Period (1901–1904), the Rose Period (1905–1907), the African-influenced Period (1908–1909),
Analytic Cubism(1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919).
In 1939–40 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City,
under its director Alfred Barr, a Picasso enthusiast, held a major
and highly successful retrospective of his principal works up until that time.
This exhibition lionized the artist, brought into full public view in America
the scope of his artistry, and resulted in a reinterpretation of his work by
contemporary art historians and scholars.
Picasso’s training under his father
began before 1890. His progress can be traced in the collection of early works
now held by the Museu Picasso in Barcelona,
which provides one of the most comprehensive records extant of any major
artist’s beginnings. During 1893 the juvenile quality of his earliest work
falls away, and by 1894 his career as a painter can be said to have begun. The
academic realism apparent in the works of the mid-1890s is well displayed in The
First Communion (1896), a large composition that depicts his sister, Lola.
In the same year, at the age of 14, he painted Portrait of Aunt Pepa, a
vigorous and dramatic portrait that Juan-Eduardo Cirlot has called “without a
doubt one of the greatest in the whole history of Spanish painting.”
In 1897 his realism became tinged
with Symbolist influence, in a series of landscape
paintings rendered in non naturalistic violet and green tones. What some call
his Modernist period (1899–1900) followed. His exposure to the work of Rossetti, Steinlen, Toulouse-Lautrec and Edvard Munch,
combined with his admiration for favorite old masters such as El Greco,
led Picasso to a personal version of modernism in his works of this period.
Picasso’s Blue Period (1901–1904)
consists of somber paintings rendered in shades of blue and blue-green, only
occasionally warmed by other colors. This period’s starting point is uncertain;
it may have begun in Spain in the spring of 1901, or in Paris in the second
half of the year. Many paintings of gaunt mothers with children date from this
period. In his austere use of color and sometimes doleful subject matter—prostitutesand beggarsare frequent subjects—Picasso was influenced by a trip through Spain and by the
suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas. Starting in autumn of 1901 he painted
several posthumous portraits of Casagemas, culminating in the gloomy
allegorical painting La Vie (1903), now in the Cleveland Museum of Art.
The same mood pervades the well-known
etching The Frugal Repast(1904), which depicts a blind man and a sighted woman, both emaciated, seated
at a nearly bare table. Blindness is a recurrent theme in Picasso’s works of
this period, also represented in The Blindman’s Meal (1903, the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and in the
portrait of Celestina (1903). Other works include Portrait of Solerand Portrait of Suzanne Bloch.
The Rose Period (1904–1906) is
characterized by a more cheery style with orange and pink colors, and featuring
many circus people, acrobats and harlequins known in France as saltimbanques. The harlequin, a
comedic character usually depicted in checkered patterned clothing, became a
personal symbol for Picasso. Picasso met Fernande Olivier, a model for sculptors
and artists, in Paris in 1904, and many of these paintings are influenced by
his warm relationship with her, in addition to his increased exposure to French
painting. The generally upbeat and optimistic mood of paintings in this period
is reminiscent of the 1899–1901 period (i.e. just prior to the Blue Period) and
1904 can be considered a transition year between the two periods.
Picasso’s African-influenced Period
(1907–1909) begins with the two figures on the right in his painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, which were
inspired by African artifacts. Formal ideas developed during this period lead
directly into the Cubist period that follows.
Analytic cubism(1909–1912) is a style of painting Picasso developed along with Georges
Braque using monochrome brownish and neutral colours. Both artists
took apart objects and “analyzed” them in terms of their shapes. Picasso and
Braque’s paintings at this time have many similarities. Synthetic cubism
(1912–1919) was a further development of the genre, in which cut paper
fragments—often wallpaper or portions of newspaper pages—were pasted into
compositions, marking the first use of collagein fine art.
Classicism and surrealism
In the period following the upheaval
of World War I,
Picasso produced work in a neoclassical style. This “return to
order” is evident in the work of many European artists in the 1920s,
including André Derain, Giorgio de Chirico, and the artists of the New
Objectivity movement. Picasso’s paintings and drawings from this
period frequently recall the work of Ingres.
During the 1930s, the minotaurreplaced the harlequin as a common motif in his work. His use of the minotaur
came partly from his contact with the surrealists,
who often used it as their symbol, and it appears in Picasso’s Guernica.
Arguably Picasso’s most famous work
is his depiction of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil
War—Guernica. This large canvas embodies
for many the inhumanity, brutality and hopelessness of war. Asked to explain
its symbolism, Picasso said, “It isn’t up to the painter to define the symbols.
Otherwise it would be better if he wrote them out in so many words! The public
who look at the picture must interpret the symbols as they understand them.”
Guernica hung in New York’s Museum of Modern Art for many years. In
1981 Guernica was returned to Spain and exhibited at the Casón del Buen Retiro. In 1992 the
painting hung in Madrid’s Reina Sofía Museum when it
Picasso was one of 250 sculptors who
exhibited in the 3rd Sculpture International held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the summer
of 1949. Inthe 1950s, Picasso’s style changed once again, as he took to producing reinterpretations
of the art of the great masters. He made a series of works based on Velazquez’spainting of Las Meninas. He also based paintings on
works by Goya, Poussin,Manet,Courbetand Delacroix.
He was commissioned to make a maquettefor a huge 50-foot (15 m)-highpublic
sculpture to be built in Chicago,
known usually as the Chicago Picasso. He approached the project
with a great deal of enthusiasm, designing a sculpture which was ambiguous and
somewhat controversial. What the figure represents is not known; it could be a
bird, a horse, a woman or a totally abstract shape. The sculpture, one of the
most recognizable landmarks in downtown Chicago, was unveiled in 1967. Picasso
refused to be paid $100,000 for it, donating it to the people of the city.
Picasso’s final works were a mixture
of styles, his means of expression in constant flux until the end of his life.
Devoting his full energies to his work, Picasso became more daring, his works
more colourful and expressive, and from 1968 through 1971 he produced a torrent
of paintings and hundreds of copperplate etchings. At the time these works were
dismissed by most as pornographic fantasies of an impotent old man or the
slapdash works of an artist who was past his prime. Only later, after Picasso’s
death, when the rest of the art world had moved on from abstract expressionism,
did the critical community come to see that Picasso had already discovered neo-expressionismand was, as so often before, ahead of his time.
Commemoration and legacy
Picasso was exceptionally prolific
throughout his long lifetime. The total number of artworks he produced has been
estimated at 50,000, comprising 1,885 paintings; 1,228 sculptures; 2,880
ceramics, roughly 12,000 drawings, many thousands of prints, and numerous
tapestries and rugs. At the time of his death many of his paintings were in his
possession, as he had kept off the art market what he didn’t need to sell. In
addition, Picasso had a considerable collection of the work of other famous
artists, some his contemporaries, such as Henri Matisse,
with whom he had exchanged works. Since Picasso left no will, his death duties
(estate tax) to the French state were paid in the form of his works and others
from his collection. These works form the core of the immense and
representative collection of the Musée Picassoin Paris. In 2003, relatives of Picasso inaugurated a museum dedicated to him
in his birthplace, Málaga, Spain, the Museo Picasso Málaga.
The Museu Picassoin Barcelonafeatures many of Picasso’s early works, created while he was living in Spain,
including many rarely seen works which reveal Picasso’s firm grounding in
classical techniques. The museum also holds many precise and detailed figure
studies done in his youth under his father’s tutelage, as well as the extensive
collection of Jaime Sabartés, Picasso’s close friend and personal secretary.
Several paintings by Picasso rank
among the most expensive paintings in the world.Garçon à la pipe sold for USD $104 million at Sotheby'son 4 May 2004, establishing a new price record. Dora Maar au
Chat sold for USD $95.2 million at Sotheby’s on 3 May
As of 2004, Picasso remains the top
ranked artist (based on sales of his works at auctions) according to the Art Market Trendsreport. More
of his paintings have been stolen than those by any other artist.
The Picasso Administration functions
as his official Estate. The U.S. copyright representative for the Picasso
Administration is the Artists Rights Society.
african art / art africain / primitive art / art primitif
/ arts premiers / art gallery / art tribal / tribal art / l'oeil et la main /
galerie d'art premier / Agalom / Armand Auxiètre / www.african-paris.com /