Pablo Picasso

Sleeping Peasants

Widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, the Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer Pablo Picasso sadly passed away 8 April 1973. Born 25 October 1881 he was Baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad, And showed a passion and a skill for drawing from an early age. From the age of seven, Picasso received formal artistic training from his father, who was a traditional, academic artist and instructor who believed that proper training required disciplined copying of the masters in figure drawing and oil painting.In 1895, the family moved to Barcelona, where Ruiz took a position at its School of Fine Arts. Picasso thrived in the city, and three years later he was sent to sudy at Madrid’s Royal Academy of San Fernando, the country’s foremost art school. Madrid also held many other attractions. The Prado housed paintings by Diego Velázquez, Francisco Goya, and Francisco Zurbarán. Picasso especially admired the works of El Greco; elements like the elongated limbs, arresting colors, and mystical visages are echoed in his later work. 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. In 1901, Picasso and his friend founded the magazine Arte Joven (Young Art), which published five issues 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.

1901 was also the start of Picasso’s Blue Period and his paintings were rendered in shades of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colors. He painted several posthumous portraits of his friend Carlos Casagemas, culminating in the gloomy allegorical painting La Vie (1903)The period between 1904 and 1906 is known as Picasso’s Rose Period and 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. During this time 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 became Picasso’s principal patron, acquiring his drawings and paintings and exhibiting them in her informal Salon at her home in Paris where he also met Henri Matisse who was to become a lifelong friend and rival. In 1907 Picasso joined an 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 dealers of the 20th century. He was among the first champions of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and the Cubism that they jointly developed. The years between 1907 and v1909 became known as Picasso’s African-influenced Period, when he painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which were inspired by African artifacts. Formal ideas developed during this period also lead directly into the Cubist period that follows.

The years between 1909 and 1912 mark Picasso’s cubism period where, along with Georges Braque, he developed a style of painting using monochrome brownish and neutral colors. 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 collage in fine art. 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, the artists of the New Objectivity movement and of the Novecento Italiano movement. Picasso’s paintings and drawings from this period frequently recall the work of Raphael and Ingres. During the 1930s, the minotaur replaced 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 one of Picasso’s most famous works Guernica (Which depicts the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War and is about the inhumanity, brutality and hopelessness of war) which is currently on display in Madrid’s Reina Sofía Museum.

During the Second World War, Picasso remained in Paris while the Germans occupied the city. Picasso’s artistic style did not fit the Nazi ideal of art, so he did not exhibit during his time. Retreating to his studio, he continued to paint, producing works such as the Stil’s l Life with Guitar (1942) and The Charnel House (1944–48).Around this time, Picasso took up writing as an alternative outlet. Between 1935 and 1959 he wrote over 300 poems, these works were gustatory, erotic and at times scatological, as were his two full-length plays Desire Caught by the Tail and The Four Little Girls. After World War II Picasso was one of 250 sculptors who exhibited in the 3rd Sculpture International held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in mid-1949. In the 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’s painting of Las Meninas. He also based paintings on works by Goya, Poussin, Manet, Courbet and Delacroix. In 1967 a 50-foot high public sculpture designed by Picasso was unveiled in Chicago. and has become one of the most recognizable landmarks in downtown Chicago,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 colorful and expressive, and from 1968 through 1971 he produced a torrent of paintings and hundreds of copperplate etchings.

Throughout his long lifetime Picasso was exceptionally prolific and 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 on 8th April 1973 many of his paintings were in his possession, as he had kept off the art market what he did not 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 Picasso in Paris. In 2003, relatives of Picasso inaugurated a museum dedicated to him in his birthplace, Málaga, Spain, the Museo Picasso Málaga. The Museu Picasso in Barcelona features many of his early works, created while he was living in Spain, including many rarely seen works which reveal his 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, his close friend and personal secretary.Several paintings by Picasso rank among the most expensive paintings in the world. Garçon à la pipe sold for $104 million at Sotheby’s on 4 May 2004, establishing a new price record. Dora Maar au Chat sold for US$95.2 million at Sotheby’s on 3 May 2006. On 4 May 2010, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust was sold at Christie’s for $106.5 million. The 1932 work, which depicts Picasso’s mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter reclining and as a bust, was valued at over $150 million. To ths day Picasso remains a top ranked artist (based on sales of his works at auctions) and remains of the best-known figures in 20th-century art.

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