Forty years ago in 1973 Pablo Picasso died on this date, 8 April, at his chateau in Mougins, near Cannes, France at the age of 91. Born in Malaga, Spain in 1881 and having lived in Barcelona, Paris and mainly in the South of France from 1946, he spent the last twelve years of his life in Mougins. This week we celebrate the life of the prolific painter, sculptor, etcher, lithographer, ceramist and designer, who has had enormous influence on 20th-century art and worked in an unprecedented variety of styles in a career spanning over six decades.
In 1901 he held his first Paris one-man exhibition at the Galerie Vollard where his Blue Period paintings of beggars and sad-faced women were on display. Just prior to his death when Picasso was 90 years old the Louvre Museum in Paris held a exhibition of his work to commemorate the occasion. He was the first living artist to have his work displayed at the Louvre.
In 2000 the British designer and restaurateur Sir Terence Conran told us how Picasso’s Bottle of Vieux Marc, Glass, Guitar and Newspaper piques his senses and rouses a fulfilling feeling of familiarity:
France has provided the backdrop for some of my most sensually satisfying experiences. I remember stumbling agog through the first French food market I ever saw, stunned by the abundance of colour and sunshine. Many of Picasso’s works fill me with the same sense of delight, filled as they are with freedom, colour, humour and life. And so evocative! A bottle of Vieux Marc on a table (I can taste it), a guitar off to one side, a copy of Le Figaro. This is the café culture that we Brits are just getting the hang of, captured here by Picasso nearly seventy years ago. Picasso’s spirit of fun, and desire to challenge our expectations, is perhaps best mirrored today by architects like Gehry, Hadid and Libeskind who create environments which make us look again at the world around us.
What memories do Picasso’s works evoke for you?