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Pablo PICASSO 1881 - 1973

Biography

Pablo Picasso was probably the most dominant and influential artist of the 20th century. He is associated most with pioneering Cubism, alongside Georges Braque. He also invented collage, with Braque and Matisse, and influenced Symbolism and Surrealism. He viewed himself principally as a painter, although his sculpture was hugely influential. Picasso also explored diverse art forms including etching, printmaking and ceramics.
 
Picasso (Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno de los Remedios Crispín de la Santísima Trinidad Ruíz y Picasso) was born in Malaga, Spain, to a painter, art teacher father and Maria Picasso y Lopez whose name he adopted. He travelled to Barcelona in 1895 where his father had been appointed a teaching post, then to Madrid in 1897 to attend the Academy. In 1898 he left, feeling it had nothing more to offer him. He arrived in Paris in 1900, via a return to Barcelona and an exposure to the work of Antoni Gaudi. From this point onwards he had a troubled relationship with his parents for abandoning his classical studies.
 
In Paris Picasso passed through a number of what have become known as periods, first emerging as a Symbolist influenced by the likes of Munch and Toulouse-Lautrec. This tendency shaped his so-called Blue Period, in which he depicted beggars, prostitutes, circus performers (famously the harlequin) and various urban misfits, and also the brighter moods of his subsequent Rose Period.
 
These themes were in accordance with the zeitgeist of the artistic and intellectual avant-garde at the beginning of the 20th century: a seeking for a type of artistic and intellectual martyrdom for the socially outcast artist. It is important to recognise that Picasso had come from the Romantic Movement from the 19th century which promoted more means of artistic self-expression. He struggled to marry expression in the wake of Cézanne and van Gogh to the formal classical history genre.
 
It was the marriage of influences, from Cézanne to archaic art and tribal African masks which encouraged Picasso to lend his figures more weight and structure around 1906, the Black Period. This ultimately set him on the path towards Cubism, in which he deconstructed the conventions of perspectival space which had dominated painting since the Italian Renaissance. His developments had far-reaching consequences essentially for all modern art, revolutionising outlooks to the depiction of form in space.
 
His work ultimately concentrated on the structural, rather than the aesthetic in style. He introduced a certain fluidity of line, and this subtlety can be regarded as his unique contribution to Expressionism and which characterised much of his work. He constantly moved between stylistic refinement and the somewhat crude.
 
Picasso's influence was profound for most of his long life. His work in Cubism established pictorial problems, devices, and approaches which remained important well into the 1950s. At each stage of his career his example was important. When, after the World War II the energy of avant-garde art shifted to New York, Picasso remained a monumental character. The Abstract Expressionists could be said to have superseded aspects of Cubism, but they reamined strongly influenced by him. Although his influence undeniably diminished from the 1960s, he had become a pop icon. The public's fascination with him continues to fuel interest in his work.
 
"Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth."
 
The Picasso etching, Bacchus et Femme de Profil (1934), held in the Gracefield permanent collection, was made during Picasso’s famous Vollard Suite period, where he made 100 etchings for the influential art dealer, Ambroise Vollard.

Related Artists:

Georges BRAQUE
Henri MATISSE