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(Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973)

 

Early Works 1894 to 1901

Blue Period 1901 to 1904

Rose Period 1904 to 1906

African Period 1907 to 1909

Analytical Cubism 1909 to 1912

Synthetic Cubism 1912 to 1919

Claccisim and Surrealism 1920 to 1949

Later Works 1950 to 1972

 

Text from Thomas Hoving, "Art For Dummies®"

"Yet Cubism and Modern art weren't either scientific or intellectual; they were visual and came from the eye and mind of one of the greatest geniuses in art history. Pablo Picasso, born in Spain, was a child prodigy who was recognized as such by his art-teacher father, who ably led him along. The small Museo de Picasso in Barcelona is devoted primarily to his early works, which include strikingly realistic renderings of casts of ancient sculpture.

"He was a rebel from the start and, as a teenager, began to frequent the Barcelona cafes where intellectuals gathered. He soon went to Paris, the capital of art, and soaked up the works of Manet, Gustave Courbet, andToulouse-Lautrec, whose sketchy style impressed him greatly. Then it was back to Spain, a return to France, and again back to Spain - all in the years 1899 to 1904.

"Before he struck upon Cubism, Picasso went through a prodigious number of styles - realism, caricature, theBlue Period, and the Rose Period. The Blue Period dates from 1901 to 1904 and is characterized by a predominantly blue palette and subjects focusing on outcasts, beggars, and prostitutes. This was when he also produced his first sculptures. The most poignant work of the style is in Cleveland's Museum of Art, La Vie(1903), which was created in memory of a great childhood friend, the Spanish poet Casagemas, who had committed suicide. The painting started as a self-portrait, but Picasso's features became those of his lost friend. The composition is stilted, the space compressed, the gestures stiff, and the tones predominantly blue. Another outstanding Blue Period work, of 1903, is in the Metropolitan, The Blind Man's Meal. Yet another example, perhaps the most lyrical and mysterious ever, is in the Toledo Museum of Art, the haunting Woman with a Crow (1903).

"The Rose Period began around 1904 when Picasso's palette brightened, the paintings dominated by pinks and beiges, light blues, and roses. His subjects are saltimbanques (circus people), harlequins, and clowns, all of whom seem to be mute and strangely inactive. One of the premier works of this period is in Washington, D.C., the National Gallery's large and extremely beautifulFamily of Saltimbanques dating to 1905, which portrays a group of circus workers who appear alienated and incapable of communicating with each other, set in a one-dimensional space.

"In 1905, Picasso went briefly to Holland, and on his return to Paris, his works took on a classical aura with large male and fernale figures seen frontally or in distinct profile, almost like early Greek art. One of the best of these of 1906 is in the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, NY, La Toilette. Several pieces in this new style were purchased by Gertrude (the art patron and writer) and her brother, Leo Stein. The other major artist promoted by the Steins during this period was Henri Matisse, who had made a sensation in an exhibition of 1905 for works of a most shocking new style, employing garish and dissonant colors. These pieces would be derided by the critics as "Fauvism," a French word for "wild beasts." Picasso was profoundly influenced by Matisse. He was also captivated by the almost cartoon-like works of the self-taught "primitive" French painter Henri "Le Douanier" Rousseau, whom he affectionately called "the last ancient Egyptian painter" because his works have a passing similarity to the flat ancient Egyptian paintings.

"A masterpiece by Rousseau is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, his world-famous Sleeping Gypsy, with an incredible tiger gazing at the dormant figure with laser-like eyes.

"Picasso discovered ancient Iberian sculpture from Spain, African art (for he haunted the African collections in the Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro in Paris), andGauguin's sculptures. Slowly, he incorporated the simplified forms he found in these sources into a striking portrait of Gertrude Stein, finished in 1906 and given by her in her will to the Metropolitan Museum. She has a severe masklike face made up of emphatically hewn forms compressed inside a restricted space. (Stein is supposed to have complained, "I don't look at all like that," with Picasso replying, "You will, Gertrude, you will.") This unique portrait comes as a crucial shift from what Picasso saw to what he was thinking and paves the way to Cubism.

"Then came the awesome Les Demoiselles d'Avignonof 1907, the shaker of the art world (Museum of Modern Art, New York). Picasso was a little afraid of the painting and didn't show it except to a small circle of friends until 1916, long after he had completed his early Cubist pictures. Cubism is essentially the fragmenting of three-dimensional forms into flat areas of pattern and color, overlapping and intertwining so that shapes and parts of the human anatomy are seen from the front and back at the same time. The style was created by Picasso in tandem with his great friend Georges Braque, and at times, the works were so alike it was hard for each artist quickly to identify their own. The two were so close for several years that Picasso took to calling Braque, "ma femme" or "my wife," described the relationship as one of two mountaineers roped together, and in some correspondence they refer to each other as "Orville and Wilbur" for they knew how profound their invention of Cubism was.

"Every progressive painter, whether French, German, Belgian, or American, soon took up Cubism, and the style became the dominant one of at least the first half of the 20th century. In 1913, in New York, the new style was introduced at an exhibition at the midtown armory - the famous Armory Show - which caused a sensation. Picasso would create a host of Cubist styles throughout his long career. After painting still-lifes that employed lettering, trompe l'oeil effects, color, and textured paint surfaces, in 1912 Picasso produced Still-Life with Chair-Caning, in the Picasso Museum in Paris, which is an oval picture that is, in effect, a cafe table in perspective surrounded by a rope frame - the first collage, or a work of art that incorporates preexisting materials or objects as part of the ensemble. Elements glued to the surface contrasting with painted versions of the same material provided a sort of sophisticated double take on the part of the observer. A good example of this, dubbedSynthetic Cubism, is in the Picasso Museum, Paris, the witty Geometric Composition: The Guitar (1913). The most accomplished pictures of the fully developed Synthetic Cubist style are two complex and highly colorful works representing musicians (in Philadelphia and the Museum of Modern Art, New York). He produced fascinating theatrical sets and costumes for the Ballet Russe from 1914 on, turned, in the 1920s, to a rich classical style, creating some breathtaking line drawings, dabbled with Surrealism between 1925 and 1935, and returned to Classicism.

"At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Picasso was appointed the director of the Prado. In January, 1937, the Republican government asked him to paint a mural for the Spanish pavilion at the world exposition in Paris. Spurred on by a war atrocity, the total destruction by bombs of the town of Guernica in the Basque country, he painted the renowned oil Guernica in monochrome (now in Madrid's Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.) Something of an enigma in details, there's no doubt that the giant picture (which until the death of Franco was in New York's Museum of Modern Art) expresses a Goyaesque revulsion over the horrors man can wreak upon fellow man. The center is dominated by a grieving woman and a wounded, screaming horse illuminated, like Goya's Third of May, 1808 by a harsh light.

"Picasso lived in Paris through the war, producing gloomy paintings in semi-abstract styles, many depicting skulls or flayed animals or a horrifying charnel house. He joined the Communist party after the war and painted two large paintings condemning the United States for its involvement in the Korean War (two frightfully bad paintings about events that never happened - like American participation in germ warfare). [In fact, research has determined that the event depicted by Picasso in "Massacre in Korea" did occur. See this newspaper article written in 1999, after Hoving wrote this piece...although the claim of germ warfare is still unsubstantiated. - ed.]. He turned enthusiastically to sculpture, pottery, and print-making, and, in his later years, preoccupied himself with a series of mistresses and girlfriends, changing his style to express his love for each one, and, finally, making superb evocations of the works of old masters like Diego Velazquez. Whatever Picasso had a hand in turned out to have an unquenchable spark of utter genius."

 

BOOKS ON PICASSO

Les Demoiselles D'Avignon (Studies in Modern Art, No 3)
William Rubin, et al

Everything you EVER wanted to know about Picasso's proto-Cubist masterwork. The graphics are of high quality and include every preparatory drawing or sketch as well as related works by other artists that influenced or were influenced by the "Demoiselles". Rubin is one of the clearest writers on art, and offers an accessible, yet thorough work.

 

 

Picasso African Period

Picasso African Period 1907 to 1909


Pablo Picasso Sketch for The Demoisell

Pablo Picasso. Sketch for The Demoiselles d'Avignon. 1907. Watercolor on paper. Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Pablo Picasso Self-Portrait. 1907. Oil

Pablo Picasso. Self-Portrait. 1907. Oil on canvas. Narodni Gallery, Prague, Czechia.

Pablo Picasso Les Demoiselles d'Avigno

Pablo Picasso. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. 1907. Oil on canvas. The Museum of Modern Arts, New York, NY, USA.

Pablo Picasso Nude (Half-Length). 1907

Pablo Picasso. Nude (Half-Length). 1907. oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso The Dance of the Veils.

Pablo Picasso. The Dance of the Veils. 1907. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Composition with a Skull

Pablo Picasso. Composition with a Skull. 1907. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Two Naked Figures. 1908.

Pablo Picasso. Two Naked Figures. 1908. Oil on canvas.

Pablo Picasso Woman Seated. 1908. Oil

Pablo Picasso. Woman Seated. 1908. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Friendship. 1908. Oil on

Pablo Picasso. Friendship. 1908. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Green Bowl and Black Bot

Pablo Picasso. Green Bowl and Black Bottle. 1908. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Pot, Wine-Glass and Book

Pablo Picasso. Pot, Wine-Glass and Book. 1908. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Decanter and Tureens. 19

Pablo Picasso. Decanter and Tureens. 1908. Oil on cardboard. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Flowers in a Grey Jug an

Pablo Picasso. Flowers in a Grey Jug and Wine-Glass with Spoon. 1908. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso La Fermière (half-length

Pablo Picasso. La Fermière (half-length). 1908. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso La Fermière (full-length

Pablo Picasso. La Fermière (full-length). 1908. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso House in a Garden. 1908.

Pablo Picasso. House in a Garden. 1908. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Dryad. 1908. Oil on canv

Pablo Picasso. Dryad. 1908. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Three Women. 1908. Oil o

Pablo Picasso. Three Women. 1908. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Woman with a Fan. 1908.

Pablo Picasso. Woman with a Fan. 1908. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Portrait of Fernarde. 19

Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Fernarde. 1909. Oil on canvas. Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany.

Pablo Picasso Bread and Fruit Dish on

Pablo Picasso. Bread and Fruit Dish on a Table. 1909. Oil on canvas. Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Pablo Picasso Woman Playing the Mandol

Pablo Picasso. Woman Playing the Mandoline. 1909. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Man with Arms Crossed. 1

Pablo Picasso. Man with Arms Crossed. 1909. Watercolor, gouache and charcoal on paper pasted on cardboard. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Nude. 1909. Oil on canva

Pablo Picasso. Nude. 1909. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Compotier, Fruit, and Gl

Pablo Picasso. Compotier, Fruit, and Glass. 1909. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Young Woman. 1909. Oil o

Pablo Picasso. Young Woman. 1909. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Factory in Horta de Ebbo

Pablo Picasso. Factory in Horta de Ebbo. 1909. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Woman with Fan. 1909. Oi

Pablo Picasso. Woman with Fan. 1909. Oil on canvas. 1909. The Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, Russia.

 

Picasso - Rose Period

PICASSO

Rose Period 1904 to 1906


Pablo Picasso The Catalan Sculptor Man

Pablo Picasso. The Catalan Sculptor Manolo (Manuel Hugué). 1904. Ink and watercolor on paper.

Pablo Picasso Woman with a Crow. 1904.

Pablo Picasso. Woman with a Crow. 1904. Charcoal, pastel and water-color on paper. Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH, USA.

Pablo Picasso In 'Lapin Agile' or Harl

Pablo Picasso. In 'Lapin Agile' or Harlequin with a Glass. 1905. Oil on canvas. Private collection.

Pablo Picasso Harlequin Sitting on a R

Pablo Picasso. Harlequin Sitting on a Red Couch. 1905. Chinese ink and watercolor on paper. Private collection.

Pablo Picasso Acrobat on a Ball. 1905

Pablo Picasso. Acrobat on a Ball. 1905 Oil on canvas. The Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, Russia

Pablo Picasso Tumblers (Mother and Son

Pablo Picasso. Tumblers (Mother and Son). 1905. Gouache on canvas. Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany.

Pablo Picasso Girl in a Chemise. c.190

Pablo Picasso. Girl in a Chemise. c.1905. Oil on canvas. Tate Gallery, London, UK.

Pablo Picasso The Family of Saltimbanq

Pablo Picasso. The Family of Saltimbanques. 1905. Oil on canvas. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

Pablo Picasso Boy with a Dog. 1905. Pa

Pablo Picasso. Boy with a Dog. 1905. Pastel and gouache on cardboard. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Two Brothers. 1905. Oil

Pablo Picasso. Two Brothers. 1905. Oil on canvas. Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Pablo Picasso Hairdressing. 1906. Oil

Pablo Picasso. Hairdressing. 1906. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.

Pablo Picasso Portrait of Gertrude Ste

Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Gertrude Stein. 1906. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.

Pablo Picasso Self-Portrait with a Pal

Pablo Picasso. Self-Portrait with a Palette. 1906. Oil on canvas. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Pablo Picasso Boy Leading a Horse. 190

Pablo Picasso. Boy Leading a Horse. 1906. Oil on canvas. The Museum of Modern Arts, New York, NY, USA.

Pablo Picasso La Toilette. 1906. Oil o

Pablo Picasso. La Toilette. 1906. Oil on canvas. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA.

Pablo Picasso Nude Youth. 1906. Gouach

Pablo Picasso. Nude Youth. 1906. Gouache on cardboard. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pablo Picasso Glassware. Still Life wi

Pablo Picasso. Glassware. Still Life with a Porro. 1906. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

 

Picasso Blue Period

Blue Period 1901 to 1904


Pablo Picasso Portrait of the Art Deal

Pablo Picasso. Portrait of the Art Dealer Pedro Manach. 1901. Oil on canvas. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

Pablo Picasso The Absinth Drinker. 190

Pablo Picasso. The Absinth Drinker. 1901. Oil on cardboard. Melville Hall Collection, New York, NY, USA.

Pablo Picasso Woman in a Blue Hat. 190

Pablo Picasso. Woman in a Blue Hat. 1901. Pastel on cardboard. Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne, Switzerland.

Pablo Picasso The Absinthe Drinker. 19

Pablo Picasso. The Absinthe Drinker. 1901. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

 

Picasso Early Works

Picasso Early Works (to 1901)

Pablo Picasso First Communion. 1895_96

Pablo Picasso. First Communion. 1895/96. Oil on canvas. Museo Picasso, Barcelona, Spain.

Pablo Picasso The Barefoot Girl. 1895.

Pablo Picasso. The Barefoot Girl. 1895. Oil on canvas. Musée Picasso, Paris, France.

Pablo Picasso Portrait of the Artist's

Pablo Picasso. Portrait of the Artist's Mother. 1896. Pastel on Paper. Museo Picasso, Barcelona, Spain.

Pablo Picasso Self-Portrait. 1896. Oil

 

Pablo Picasso. Self-Portrait. 1896. Oil on canvas. Museo Picasso, Barcelona, Spain.

Pablo Picasso Science and Charity. 189

Pablo Picasso. Science and Charity. 1897. Oil on canvas. Museo Picasso, Barcelona, Spain.

Pablo Picasso Matador Luis Miguel Domi

Pablo Picasso. Matador Luis Miguel Dominguin. 1897. Pencil on paper.

Pablo Picasso Lola, Picasso's Sister.

Pablo Picasso. Lola, Picasso's Sister. 1899.

Pablo Picasso A Spanish Couple in fron

Pablo Picasso. A Spanish Couple in front of an Inn. 1900. Pastel on cardboard. Private collection.

Pablo Picasso Leaning Harlequin. 1901.

Pablo Picasso. Leaning Harlequin. 1901. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.

Pablo Picasso Woman with Chignon. 1901

Pablo Picasso. Woman with Chignon. 1901. Oil on canvas. Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Pablo Picasso Death of Casagemas. 1901

Pablo Picasso. Death of Casagemas. 1901. Oil on wood. Musée Picasso, Paris, France.