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Pablo Picasso

Spain, October 25th 1881- April 8th1973

Abstract, Cubism


Pablo Picasso, the renowned Spanish artist, transcends the realms of legend and myth, achieving unprecedented fame even during his lifetime. His body of work is a testament to unparalleled diversity in both representation and material utilization, rendering a definitive characterization of his art a formidable challenge.

In the late 1960s, art critic Rudy Kousbroek offered a nuanced perspective in an essay, succinctly encapsulating Picasso's essence: "Picasso is primarily someone who makes pictures of people whose noses and eyes are in the wrong place." This statement by Kousbroek vividly summons a mental image of a Pablo Picasso painting.

Carsten-Peter Warncke, in his study 'Pablo Picasso: 1881-1973,' describes Picasso as a brilliant painter, graphic artist, sculptor, set designer, and master of numerous disciplines. The vast scope of Picasso's artistic production presents an insurmountable challenge for comprehensive discussion, with tens of thousands of works still awaiting full cataloging, description, research, and accessibility to the general public.

Born on October 25, 1881, in Malaga, southern Spain, Picasso emerged from a town no longer the prominent trading city it once was. His father, an art teacher, recognized Pablo's early talent, with the family preserving about two thousand of his early works now housed in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. Despite financial hardships, Picasso enjoyed a carefree childhood. His artistic journey began at the La Guarda art academy, followed by a traditional education at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid.

In 1900, Picasso experienced the vibrant art scene of Paris during the World Exposition, marking a transformative period in his life. Returning briefly to Barcelona, he worked as an illustrator before returning to Paris, where he established connections with artists, gallery owners, and writers. Guillaume Apollinaire and Georges Braque became influential figures in Picasso's circle.

Inspiration from primitive art, especially African and South American influences, played a significant role in Picasso's evolution. The impact of an exhibition of African sculpture at the Trocadéro ethnographic museum in 1904 left an indelible mark on his artistic perspective.

Picasso's venture into Cubism, considered a revolutionary development in twentieth-century art, showcased a new form of expression diverging from conventional reality. He believed in starting from somewhere tangible and erasing traces of reality later. 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' (1907) stands as an early manifestation of his cubist approach, incorporating ideas from various cultural influences.

The collage technique became a hallmark of Picasso's cubist period, as seen in 'Guitar and Bass-Bottle' (1913), marking the inception of a new artistic direction. Beyond 1914, Picasso embraced a freer form of art, stating, "You have to act in painting as you do in life."

Throughout his extensive career, Picasso remained an innovator, creating paintings, sculptures, and drawings prolifically. Even in his later years, he produced three or four paintings a day. His remarkable journey concluded on April 8, 1973, leaving behind an enduring legacy in the world of art.

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