Pablo Picasso (En.) life and biography

Pablo Picasso (En.) picture, image, poster

Pablo Picasso (En.) biography

Date of birth : 1881-10-25
Date of death : 1973-04-08
Birthplace : Malaga, Spain
Nationality : Spanish
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-07-19
Credited as : Artist painter, sculptor, co-founding the Cubist movement

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Pablo Picasso, also known as: Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Pablo Ruiz y Picasso born October 25, 1881 in Malaga, Spain - died April 8, 1973 in Antibes, France was a Spanish famous painter.
He is best known for co-founding the Cubist movement and for the wide variety of styles embodied in his work. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) and Guernica (1937), his portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

Pablo Picasso has often been compared with Stravinsky as one of the great artistic chameleons of the 20th century, each reacting to the crisis of expression in modern art by constantly exploring, thus passing through a whole series of phases of creative activity. It has indeed been said that Picasso painted each of his pictures as if he were trying to discover the art of painting all over again. But though Stravinsky and Picasso both shared in immense capacity for absorbing and reshaping other men's styles, and have thus both been called "electric," it is no longer so easy as it once seemed to pigeon-hole their careers into neat if necessarily overlapping periods, for it is becoming much clearer in retrospect that each was an integral talent, and that mere magpies could hardly have played the crucial role they did in enlarging the meaning of art in the 20th century.

But how far is Picasso still a "contemporary" artist, eligible for inclusion in this book? Whereas Mondrian, Matisse and Duchamp have all been clearly major influences on the art of the last three decades, it might be said that Picasso's own direct influence on the development of art came to an end in the 1920s, and that in his final phase after the war he had already completely lost touch with contemporary art, even though he himself was as productive as he had been in his earlier career. But he no longer seemed the great innovator and explorer that he had been during the artistic revolution of the first 30 years of this century, when he was constantly disrupting traditional concepts of art and extending its boundaries, while tremendously influencing other artists, many of whom founded whole careers on ideas Picasso had explored for a year or two of his.

Picasso had an almost immediate success with his first really personal and original paintings, those of the so-called Blue and Pink periods, which in some ways show him as the last great Symbolist painter, though with their mood-creating colours and emotive distortions of forms they also relate to the earlier phases of Expressionism. And it was this search for force of expression which led to his interest in primitive, particularly African, art. The tremendous expressive power of African masks and sculptures was a sensational demonstration that naturalism was not the only way an artist could express himself. And these exotic sculptures offered solutions to Picasso and other painters who were trying to break away from naturalism because they recognized that African sculptors were not concerned to represent the superficial appearance of the world, but were instead striving to represent a completely different reality, to make visible the invisible world of the instincts and emotions. Picasso was not the first painter to discover tribal art; Vlaminck, Derain, Matisse and Braque had all done that a year or so earlier. But it was he who made the most potent use of it in the proto-cubist "Desmoiselles d'Avignon," a painting which shocked even friends like Braque when they saw it in his studio.

This was a curtain-raiser to Cubism, which was also a working-out of Cézanne's radical discoveries about the nature of space. In spite of its short duration, cubism became and has remained perhaps the most important and influential reassessment of the century. With this fundamental reassessment of the nature of visual perception Picasso's direct influence on other artists was at its height, including more currently fashionable artists like Mondrian and Duchamp. Nor was this influence only on painting, for Picasso has had just as profound an influence on sculpture, and his collages and constructions have played a large part in breaking down the boundaries between painting and sculpture which has been such a feature of contemporary art. Picasso himself was already using the idea of assemblage, and the collage technique of extending the surface of the picture outwards has been explored in different ways by many subsequent artists from Schwitters' collages to Rauschenberg's combines, all attempts to incorporate "reality" into the work without actually imitating it in the old representational way. And the astonishing streams of cubist "guitars" and "still-lifes" made of wood or sheet-metal have had such a profound influence on later sculptors as different as David Smith and Cesar that a younger sculptor like William Tucker can write: "There is no doubt, to my mind, that the most totally revolutionary of all modern sculptures in concept, material, and execution, are in Picasso's Cubist constructions."

Cubism was a consistent passion with Picasso for some five years, but an exploratory passion in which every work revealed new variations and new possibilities. But while continuing to explore these possibilities, he was now also painting in a severely classical naturalistic style, and from now on he always worked in various styles concurrently. Neoclassicism was in many ways a personal style for Picasso, an idealist dream which was the fruit of his direct contact in 1917 with Italy and the classical tradition while working on the Diaghilev ballet Parade, and of the first, happy phase of his marriage to a young ballerina. But it was also partly a general change of mood which was affecting all the arts, with neoclassical music being pioneered by Stravinsky in his Diaghilev ballets of this time. With surrealism Picasso was part of a movement which he helped to develop though he had no part in initiating it, and after this he seems to be less and less a direct influence on the mainstream of contemporary art. The main recent critical fashion, from supporters of Abstract Expressionism like Clement Greenberg to much younger critics like Timothy Hilton, has been one of antipathy to most if not all Picasso's post-Cubist works, as though Picasso's main role in art had been to prepare the way for an allegedly higher American post-war and abstract supremacy, so that his return to the figure and hostility to abstract art are "obtuse" Thus Hilton loftily dismisses "Guernica": "The American Artists--Pollock above all--well understood that `Guernica' was not, in itself, a progressive painting . . . Clement Greenberg, uniquely qualified to understand that American response to Picasso, was precise and damning about the picture. His criticism is eloquent of the way that, as far as the new art was concerned, `Guernica' was felt to be irrelevant and even reactionary."

What this whole nonsensical argument does is condemn not Picasso, but the whole degenerate, mannerist formalism into which the American and most other contemporary art has slid. The argument goes back to the whole development of art since Cubism. Did Picasso misunderstand the nature of Cubism, as Otto Hahn has suggested: "Picasso, though he was among the founders of Cubism, never drew the right conclusions from it. He sent Art off along a highly cerebral track as a business of conceptual painting, yet stuck to his belief in `temperament.'" On the contrary, I would argue that it was Picasso's followers who completely misunderstood the nature of Cubism, right from the very first book on the new art, Du Cubisme, by the minor Cubist followers Gleizes and Metzinger, who insisted on treating it as a code, a systematic and standardized technique for representing objects. Picasso was never a formula artist of this type, but an explorer, and an essential part of his art was the continual search for an expressive style through which to communicate his highly charged feelings and energy. An experimental period in the arts is harvest-time for the charlatan, and Picasso's mannerisms can be imitated all to easily. But his own supreme gift was that marvellous natural draughtmanship, that marvellous fluency of line with which he is seen drawing a bull in the films which show him in action, a personal style which however goes right back to the sources of art and which he shares with the paleolithic cave artists. And this sort of fluent brush drawing can never be an intellectual activity whose results can be dissected with pseudo-Wittgentsteinian pretentiousness of a fashionable art critic, but a personally expressive, emotional, indeed an erotic activity. Roland Penrose has claimed that it is largely due to Picasso "that the conception of art as a powerful emotional medium, rather than a speech for the perfection of ideal forms of beauty, has become accepted among the artists of our time. The return to a fundamental belief that art should spring from a primitive need to express our feelings towards the world around us in strong emotional terms makes us more prone to value a work of art for its vitality than for its perfection. It is the exceptional power of Picasso's work that compels us, in return, to discover in it the mysterious presence of beauty."

The tragedy is that this has not been so. How prophetic Herbert Read now seems when he writes: "That Picasso has been the most influential artist of the first half of the 20th century is obvious, but not all influences are good influences, and indeed for an age to be dominated by the idiosyncrasies of a single personality is a sign of weakness. The example of Michelangelo in the past is a melancholy witness to this fact." Michelangelo's creativity was, like Picasso's, a profound and constant struggle to express the emotional intensity of his own inner tensions, but it was because his Mannerist followers merely made hollow imitations of him that Ruskin could describe Michelangelo as "a great fellow, but the ruin of art." "Guernica" is one of a frightening series of pictures with which Picasso reacted to his personal crisis and to the political events of the inter-war years, and hanging--as it did in New York it remained a constant reproach to the mannerist degeneracy of so much American painting and criticism, from the formalist sterility of Frank Stella's paintings which demand to be seen only as object, to the trivial minimalism of Carl Andre's pile of bricks.

Picasso's last phase after 1945 still shows the same extraordinary productivity, though with these late works he seems to withdraw from contemporary art movements altogether in order to plunge into a kind of retrospective re-working of his former inventions. For this last work is notable for the way in which it ranges back and forth in its preferences to earlier styles, as though commenting on the processes of its own evolution. Yet there were no new radical inventions of his own, and even though he still showed something like his old versatility, his output was notably uneven. It has been rightly remarked that Picasso is one of the few truly great artists to have lived to a very old age and yet failed to produce a distinctive late manner and a deepening of profundity. Yet he rightly felt himself closer spiritually to the old Masters than to any of the modern avant-garde painters who made whole careers of flogging one small formula to death. And he was still obsessively at work, still refusing to stand still, and even this final phase of his activity was influential, since most of his best post-war work was in the field of ceramics, and Picasso helped to promote a new flourishing of poetry and a revival of the moribund ceramics industry in the South of France. Much of the late work of the ageing artist is also charged with an obsessive sexuality, a high erotic content which may because of his great public charisma as an artist have contributed to the current liberating view of eroticism. Roland Penrose tells the story of Jean Leymarie asking Picasso to define the difference between art and eroticism: "But there is no difference," said Picasso with great seriousness. And it is precisely because he was an erotic artist that Picasso is, and will remain, such a great one.

May 5, 2004: Picasso's 1905 painting "Boy with a Pipe (The Young Apprentice)" was bought by an anonymous bidder for $104.1 million at a Sotheby's auction. It was the highest price ever paid for a painting.

April 27, 2005: A retrospective of photographer Andre Villers's portraits of Picasso went on display at Karl Kemp Antiques in Manhattan.


Nationality: Spanish. Born: Malaga, Andalusia, 25 October 1881; moved with his family to La Coruna, 1891, and to Barcelona, 1895. Education: La Coruna; studied at La Llonja Art School, under his father, Barcelona, 1896-97; studied briefly at the Royal Academy of San Fernando, Madrid, 1897; in Cordona's studio, Barcelona, 1899-1900. Family: Lived with Fernande Ulivier, 1905-1911; married Olga Koklova in 1918 (divorced, 1935) son: Paul; lived with Marie Therese Walter; daughter: Maria; lived with Francoise Gilot, 1946-53; children: Claude and Paloma; married Jacqueline Rogul in 1958. Career: Painter and sculptor; maintained first studio, Barcelona, 1896; contributed illustrations to periodicals, Barcelona, 1900; visited Paris, and shared studio with Carlos Casagemas, 1900; founder, with Francisco de Assis Soler, Arte Jove, Madrid, and became art editor and illustrator, 1901; settled in Paris, 1904; spent summers in Southern France, from 1911; associated with Juan Gris, Georges Braque, Max Jacob and Andre Derain; visited Rome, with Jean Cocteau, and met Diaghilev, 1917; subsequently associated with Igor Stravinsky and Leonide Massine; designed costumes and scenery for Diahilev's Parade, Paris, 1971, and Le Tricorne, London, 1919; continued work on theatrical designs, until 1924; director, Prado, Madrid, 1936; committed to Republican cause during Spanish Civil War, and sold artwork to raise funds; exhibited "Guernica" at the World's Fair, Paris, 1937; lived near Paris during the occupation; joined French Communist Party, 1944; moved to the South of France, 1948; settled near Aix, 1958; moved to Mougins, France, 1961. Awards: Honorable Mention, Exhibition of Fine Arts, Madrid, 1897; Painting Medal, Customs of Aragon, Madrid and Malaga 1898; First Prize, Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, 1930. Died: Antibes, France, 8 April 1973.

* Individual Exhibitions

* 1900: Els Quatre Gats, Barcelona
* 1901: Salon Parés, Barcelona
* 1901: Galerie Ambroise Vollard, Paris
* 1902: Galerie Berthe Weill, Paris
* 1904: Galerie Berthe Weill, Paris
* 1909: Galerie Ambroise Vollard, Paris
* 1909: Galerie Thannhauser, Munich
* 1911: Photo Secession, New York
* 1911: Galerie Thannhauser, Munich
* 1912: Stafford Gallery, London
* 1912: Dalman Galerie, Barcelona
* 1913: Neue Galerie, Berlin
* 1913: Galerie Thannhauser, Munich
* 1918: Paul Guillaume Galerie, Paris (with Henri Matisse)
* 1919: Leicester Gallerie, London (with Henri Matisse)
* 1919: Galerie Rosenberg, Paris
* 1922: Galerie Thannhauser, Munich
* 1924: Galerie Rosenberg, Paris
* 1931: Musée d'Art Francais, Paris (with Fernand Leger and Georges Braque)
* 1932: Galerie Georges Petit, Paris
* 1932: Kunsthaus, Zurich
* 1934: Galerie Percier, Paris (with Julio Gonzalez and Joan Miró)
* 1935: Mayor Gallery, London (with Juan Gris and Fernand Léger)
* 1936: Galerie Rosenberg, Paris
* 1936: Renou et Colle Gallerie, Paris
* 1937: Zwemmer Gallery, London (with Giorgio de Chirico)
* 1938: Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo (with Henri Matisse and Georges Braque; toured Scandinavia)
* 1938: New Burlington Galleries, London
* 1939: Arts Club of Chicago
* 1939: Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco
* 1939: London Gallery
* 1939: Museum of Modern Art, New York
* 1940: Art Institute of Chicago
* 1941: Bignou Gallery, New York
* 1945: Victoria and Albert Museum, London (with Henri Matisse; travelled to the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels)
* 1945: Buchholz Gallery, New York
* 1945: Louis Carré Galerie, Paris
* 1948: Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris
* 1948: Arts Council Gallery, London
* 1948: Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover (with Juan Gris and Joan Miró)
* 1948: Museum of Art, San Francisco (travelled to the Portland Art Museum, Oregon)
* 1950: Maison de la Pensée Francaise, Paris
* 1951: Saidenberg Gallery, New York (with Fernand Léger)
* 1953: Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyons
* 1953: Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome
* 1953: Palazzo Reale, Milan
* 1953: Museo de Arte Moderna, Sao Paulo
* 1954: Maison dela Pensée Francaise, Paris
* 1955: Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris
* 1955: Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris
* 1955: Haus der Kunst, Munich
* 1956: Arts Council Gallery, London
* 1957: Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris
* 1957: Museum of Modern Art, New York
* 1957: Musée Reattu, Arles, France
* 1958: Philadelphia Museum of Art
* 1959: Musée Cantini, Marseilles
* 1959: Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris
* 1960: Le Musée, Vallauris, France (with Fernand Leger)
* 1960: Tate Gallery, London
* 1960: Galerie Motte, Paris
* 1962: Museum of Modern Art, New York
* 1966: Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
* 1966: Grand Palais, Paris
* 1966: Petit Palais, Paris
* 1968: Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, West Germany
* 1970: Marlborough Fine Art, London (with Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland)
* 1971: Musée Nationale d'Art Moderne, Paris
* 1972: Museum of Modern Art, New York
* 1973: Israel Museum, Jerusalem
* 1973: Kunsthalle, Bremen, West Germany
* 1973: Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris
* 1973: Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels
* 1973: Museu Picasso, Barcelona
* 1973: Palais des Papes, Avignon
* 1973: Fischer Fine Arts, London
* 1973: Galleria Levi, Milan
* 1973: Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires
* 1973: Kunstverein, Hannover
* 1973: Leslie Waddington Prints, London
* 1974: Fuji TV Gallery, Tokyo
* 1974: Leslie Waddington Prints, London
* 1974: Galerie Jankrugier, Geneva
* 1974: Galerie Gerald Cramer, Geneva
* 1974: Marlborough Galleria d'Arte, Rome
* 1974: Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe
* 1974: Kunstverein, Hamburg (toured West Germany)
* 1975: Marina Gallery, Weybridge, Surrey
* 1975: Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin
* 1976: Kunstmuseum, Basel
* 1976: Centro Annunciata, Milan
* 1977: Fundacion Juan March, Madrid
* 1977: Galerie Patrick Cramer, Geneva
* 1977: E. Jan Wissleingh and Company, Amsterdam
* 1977: Museu Picasso, Barcelona
* 1978: Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig
* 1978: Museu Picasso, Barcelona
* 1979: Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover
* 1979: Kunsthalle, Bielefeld, West Germany (with Juan Gris and Georges Braque)
* 1979: Museu Picasso, Barcelona
* 1979: Galerie Kornfield, Berne
* 1979: Grand Palais, Paris
* 1980: Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris
* 1981: Art Galery of Ontario, Toronto
* 1981: Museo Espanol de Arte Contemporaneo, Madrid (travelled to the Museo Picasso, Barcelona)
* 1982: Staatliche Museen Pruesischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin
* 1983: Galleria Seno, Milan
* 1983: Galerie Gianna Sista, Paris
* 1983: Edward Totah Gallery, London
* 1984: Kunsthalle, Bielefeld, West Germany
* 1984: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
* 1984: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
* 1984: Fischer Fine Art, London
* 1984: Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City
* 1984: Guggenheim Museum, New York
* 1984: Los Angeles County Museum of Art
* 1985: Museum Het Kruithuis, Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
* 1985: Kunstmuseum, Berne
* 1985: Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago
* 1986: Lumley Cazalet, London
* 1986: Galerie Thomas, Munich
* 1986: Stephen Muzoh and Company, New York
* 1986: Galerie Beyeler, Basel
* 1986: Kunsthalle, Tubingen, West Germany
* 1986: Kunstverein, Dusseldorf
* 1986: Pace Gallery, New York
* 1986: Royal Academy of Art, London (toured the United States and Canada, 1986-88)
* 1987: Waddington Galleries, London
* 1987: Sala Gaspar, Barcelona

* Selected Group Exhibitions

* 1913: International Exhibition of Modern Art (Armory Show), Armory of the 69th Infantry, New York (travelled to the Art Institute of Chicago, and Copley Hall, Boston)
* 1937: International Exhibition, Petit Palais, Paris
* 1944: Salon d'Autonne, Paris
* 1947: The Cubist Spirit and Its Time, Tate Gallery, London
* 1950: Biennale, Venice
* 1952: Salon de Mai, Paris
* 1961: The Art of Assemblage, Museum of Modern Art, New York
* 1983: Modern Art in the West, Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo

* Collections

* Picasso Museum, Barcelona
* Museum of Modern Art, Barcelona
* Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
* Musée Picasso, Antibes, France
* Tate Gallery, London
* Hermitage Museum, Leningrad
* Museum of Modern Art, New York
* Philadelphia Museum of Art
* Art Institute of Chicago.

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