Pablo Picasso

1881–1973

Pablo Picasso, ‘Weeping Woman’ 1937
Weeping Woman 1937
© Succession Picasso/DACS 2017
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Biography

Richard Hamilton, ‘Picasso’s meninas’ 1973
Richard Hamilton
Picasso’s meninas 1973
© The estate of Richard Hamilton

Artist biography

Pablo Picasso 1881-1973

School of Paris painter, sculptor, etcher, lithographer, ceramist and designer, who has had enormous influence on 20th century art and worked in an unprecedented variety of styles. Born at Malaga, Spain, son of an art teacher. His family moved to Barcelona, where he entered the School of Fine Arts 1895; then entered Madrid Academy 1897. Early showed great precocity. First visited Paris in autumn 1900, returned in 1901 when he had his first Paris one-man exhibition at the Galerie Vollard. Blue Period paintings of beggars and sad-faced women. Settled in Paris 1904. In 1905 painted some pictures of circus folk and embarked on his Rose Period. 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' 1906-7 marked the beginning of a more revolutionary manner, influenced by Cezanne and Negro art. Met Braque in 1907 and with his collaboration created Cubism. Designed sets and costumes for Parade and other Diaghilev ballets 1917-24. Made some neo-classic figure paintings 1920-4, parallel to later Cubism. Started to make more violently expressive and metamorphic works in 1925, and in the following years frequently exhibited with the Surrealists. Important series of wrought-iron constructions and modelled sculptures 1928-34, illustrations for Ovid's Les Métamorphoses, Buffon's Histoire Naturelle etc. Awarded First Prize at the 1930 Pittsburgh International. His painting 'Guernica' 1937 was inspired by the destruction by bombing of the Spanish town of that name. Continued to live in Paris throughout the Occupation. From 1946 lived mainly in the South of France at Antibes, Vallauris, Cannes, and from 1958 near Aix-en-Provence, where he maintained a prolific output of paintings, sculptures, etchings, lithographs and ceramics. Died at Mougins, near Cannes.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.591-2

Wikipedia entry

Pablo Picasso (; Spanish: [ˈpaβlo piˈkaso]; 25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. Regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a dramatic portrayal of the bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian airforces.

Picasso demonstrated extraordinary artistic talent in his early years, painting in a naturalistic manner through his childhood and adolescence. During the first decade of the 20th century, his style changed as he experimented with different theories, techniques, and ideas. After 1906, the Fauvist work of the slightly older artist Henri Matisse motivated Picasso to explore more radical styles, beginning a fruitful rivalry between the two artists, who subsequently were often paired by critics as the leaders of modern art.

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 (1904–1906), the African-influenced Period (1907–1909), Analytic Cubism (1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919), also referred to as the Crystal period. Much of Picasso's work of the late 1910s and early 1920s is in a neoclassical style, and his work in the mid-1920s often has characteristics of Surrealism. His later work often combines elements of his earlier styles.

Exceptionally prolific throughout the course of his long life, Picasso achieved universal renown and immense fortune for his revolutionary artistic accomplishments, and became one of the best-known figures in 20th-century art.

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