Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born Oct 25th 1881 in the city of Malaga, Andalusia in Southern Spain. He was the first child of Don Jose Ruiz Blasco and Maria Picasso Lopez. Pablo’s family was of the middle class background. His father was also a painter who specialized in naturalistic depictions of birds and other animals. His fathers ancestors were minor aristocrats.
Pablo was a Spanish painter, sculptor, print maker, ceramicist and theater designer. Needless to say he had his hands in many different creative ventures. Pablo is known as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture,the co-inventor of collage, and for a broad spectrum of variety of styles that he helped to develop and explore.
At a young age Pablo showed a passion and skill for drawing. His mother Maria claims that his first word was “piz, piz” for pencil. From the age of 7 years old Pablo began to receive formal artistic training from his father in figure drawing and oil painting. His father Ruiz was a traditional academic artist and instructor, who believed that proper training required disciplined copying of the masters, and drawing the human form from plaster casts and live models.
Pablo’s 7 year old sister died from Diphtheria which traumatized him and his family. After his death his family moved to Barcelona where his father took a position at the school of fine arts. Pablo regards Barcelona as his true home and thrived in the city. His father convinced the officials at the academy to allow Pablo to take an entrance exam for the advanced class. The exam usually took students a month to finish, but not Pablo he finished the exam in a weeks time. At just 13 years old it is said that Pablo lacked discipline but he made connections and friendships that would effect him later in life. His father rented a small room for Pablo close to home so he could work on his craft, but he checked on him several times a day to be sure he was ok and to judge his drawings. Pablo and his father were said to argue often but had a good relationship otherwise.
At the age of 16 Pablo set off for the first time alone to Madrids Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, the countries foremost art school. Pablo disliked formal instruction and he just stopped attending classes soon after enrollment. Pablo made his first trip to Paris in 1900 it was here that he met his first Parisian friend, journalist and poet Max Jacop. Max helped Pablo to learn French and it’s literature. They began to share an apartment and Max slept during the night while Pablo slept during the day. During these times they suffered severe poverty, cold and desperation. Much of Pablo’s works were burned to keep the small room warm.
In the first five months of 1901 Pablo lived to Madrid, it was here with his anarchist friend Francisco de Asis Soler founded the magazine Arte Joven. The published five issues of the magazine. Soler solicited the articles and Pablo illustrated the journal, mostly depicting grim cartoons that sympathized with the poor. The first issue was published on March 1901 by which time Pablo had begun signing his works Picasso. It is said that this was not a rejection of his father Pablo just wanted to distinguish himself from other artists.
Pablo’s Blue Period ( 1901- 1904 ) is characterized by grim, sombre paintings in which he used shades of blue and blue- green only occasionally did he warm them by using other colours. There are many paintings of doleful subject matters such as gaunt mothers with their children, prostitutes and beggars During this time Pablo divided his time between Paris and Barcelona. The suicide of his friend Carles Casagemas also influenced Pablo’s works and in autumn 1901 Pablo painted several posthumous portraits of his friend Casagemas culminationg in the gloomy allegorical painting Le Vie ( 1903 ) This painting is now in the Cleveland Museum of Art. Blindness was a recurrent theme in Pablo’s works during this time, There is a well known etching The Frugal Repast which depicts a blind man and a slighted women sitting at a nearly bare table. Also in The Blindman’s Meal.
The Rose period ( 1904- 1906 ) in this period Pablo used a lighter tone and style using oranges and pink colours, featuring many circus people, acrobats and harlequins. In this time Pablo met Fernande Olivier, a bohemian artist who became his mistress in 1904. Olivier appears in many of Pablo’s paintings and you can see his warm feelings for her through his works. This period was a more upbeat and optimistic then his Blue period paintings and can beseen as a transition year for Pablo’s works.
In 1905 Pablo became a fovorite of American Art collectors Leo and Gertrude Stien. They had a daughter and a son who also became fans of Pablo’s works. He was comissioned to paint the portrait of Gertrude Stein once finished and presented to Gertrude, it was said that she did not really like her portrait, Pablo’s response was somply…” She will”. I love this response, he did not trouble himself with feeling to paint the portrait to just please Gertrude’s vanity, he painted the portrait to please himself and had confidence that she would indeed come to like it. Believe it or not, Pablo was right, Gertrude became one of Pablo’s principal patrons. She acquired his paintings and drawings to exhibit them from her home in their informal salon.
At one of these gatherings in 1905 Pablo met Henri Matisse, who would become a lifelong friend and rival of Pablo’s. Also during this time the Steins intriduced him to Claribel Cone and her sister Etta, who were American art collectors who also began to aquire Pablo’s and Matisse paintings. As fate has it the Steins became divided in their art collecting, Michael and Sarah Stein became collector’s of Matisse while Gertrude Stein continued to collect Pablo’s works.
In 1907 Pablo joined a new art gallery that had just recently opened in Paris by Daniel-Henrey Hahnweiler, a German art historian and art collector who became one of the premier French art dealers of the 20th century. He was one of the first champions of Pablo’s, along with Georges Braque and the Cubism that they jointly developed. Kahnweller promoted artists such as Andre Derain, Kees van Dongen, Fernand Leger, Juan Gris, Maurice de Vlaminck and several others who had come from all over the globe to live and work in Montparnasse at the time.
In the years of ( 1907 – 1909 ) Pablo began his African- influenced period. His painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon was the begining works of this period. It is said that the three figures on the left were inspired by Iberian sculpture, but he repainted the faces of the two figures on the right after being powerfully impressed by the African artefacts he saw in June of 1907, in the ethnographic museum in the Palais du Trocadero. When Pablo showed his friends and acquaintances the painting that year, the nearly universal reaction was was shock and revulsion. Matisse angrily dismissed Pablo’s works as a hoax. Pablo did not exhibit his painting again until ( 1916 ) I mean we can see why after the reaction he recieved from his friends. Revulsion is a strong word to use to describe someones paintings. ( lol )Other works from this period include Nude with raised arms ( 1907 ) and Three Women ( 1908 ) Formal ideas developed during this period lead directly into the Cubist period that follows.
Analytic Cubism : 1909 – 1912 is a style of painting that Pablo and Georges Braque developed using monochrome brownish and neutral colours. Both artists took apart objects and analyzed them in terms of their shapes. Both Braque and Pablo’s paintings during this time share many similar traits.
During this time drama was not far from Pablo, he was arrested for stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. I don’t know why I find this so funny, maybe it is the drama of it all, but i mean really…how scandolous would that story be. Pablo Picasso steals the Mona Lisa… He was later found innocent of the charges. During these years Pablo had some fame from his works yet, they were not very happy years for the artist. He had some serious health problems along with that he had a few arguments with Fernande.
He then entered another sentimental relationship with Eva Gouel, a woman that he cared deeply for. Poor Eva would die at an young age of just 30 years old from tuberculosis in 1915. This left Pablo in dispair added to his already unhappy years during this period. Even though his private life was stormy his artistic life was not. Things seemed to be going well for Pablo in this area of his life at that time.
WWI caught Pablo while he was on vacation in Avignon. These years were very difficult years for him. He was seperated from his many French friends who were all mobilized for the outbreak of the conflict. Braque and Derain were both enlisted in the army, Apollinaire left for the front lines voluntarily and died in 1918, while Gertrude Stein took refuge in England and Italy. Pablo remained in Paris and it was there he met a young woman named Jean Cacteau, who involved the artist in the creation of curtains, sets and costums for Parade. The ballet the ballet he was creating for the famous company of Sergej’s Russian Ballets. On Febuary 17th the two left for Rome where the company was rehearsing for the ballet. In Rome Pablo was introduced to Renaissance and classical art. During this time Pablo fell in love once again with one of the ballet dancers named Ol’ga Khochlova who just so happened to be the daughter of a colonel in the Russian Imperial Army. He married Ol’ga on July 17th 1918 in a Russian church in Paris. The two seemed happy and had a son named Paulo in February 1921.
In the years that followed Pablo began to enjoy some very solid and successful years with numerous exhibitions between 1930 and 1939. Notable exhibits included those in New York, Paris, England and Spain. During these years in 1934 Pablo returned to Spain and with this new contact to his native land he gained new inspiration and revived some of his old passions such as cock fighting , bullfighting and other popular traditions. Yet the political climate of his youth wa no longer, things had changed and was now the scene of a bloody civil war which lasted until 1975. Pablo was intimately shaken by the tragedy of his homeland and ruthlessly denounced Franco’s military uprising in 1937 by engraving a pamplet entitled Dreams and Lies of Franco. Pablo carefully escaped from Spain in 1936 due to the civil war and he was commissioned in 1937 to create a great work to represent the SecondSpanish Republic in place of honor of the Spanish Pavillion. Pablo never really wanted to enter into the dispute of the civil war then fought in Spain by Fancisco Franco, but he was dramatically disturbed by the ferociious crome against humanity and completely absorbed in the desire to denounce the war atrocities all over the world. So he quickly spread Guernica, a work presented to the world at the Universal Exposition in Paris and destined to become the icon for the 900. Pablo’s artistic style did not fit with the Nazi ideal of art, so he did not exhibit during this time. Often harrassed by the Gestabo they searched his apartment on one occassion and an officer saw a photograph of the painting Guernica and he asked Pablo, ” Did you do that?” to wich Pablo replied ,”No, you did.”
Pablo began a affair with a woman by the name of Dora Maar in the late 1930’s to early 1940’s. She documented the painting of Guernica for Pablo. She was one of his many ” Muses” But Dora was a surrealist photographer and had a career of her own. She introduced Pablo to the method of combining photography and print making and boosted his understanding in politics. Pablo has claimed that Dora was always a crying woman and he painted her like that. He said it was the deep reality of Dora Maar. Dora has been said to have greatly influenced Pablo in his art work of Guenica.
He retreated to his studio at this time painting works such as the Still Life with Guitar in 1942 and the Charnel House. Even though bronze casting was outlawed by the Germans in Paris, Pablo cintinued using braonze smuggled in by the French Resistance. During this time Pablo also wrote poetry as a way to express himself, between 1935 and 1959 he wrote over 300 poems. They were untitled except for a date or perhaps the location it was written in.
In 1944 Pablo grew tired of his mistress Dora Marr, as one does when you are an egoist. He began a relationship with a young women named Francoise Gilot and they began to live together. Two children later Claude Picasso and Paloma Picasso after enduring his horrible abuse and random affairs she finally took the children and left. It was said to be a severe blow to Pablo, but I mean honestly what did he expect? He was never able to heal his relationship with his children. Pablo was said to have been a womanizer and a mysogynist, being quoted to have said ” Women are machines for suffering.” Apparently he really loved suffering because he chose to be be with many ” Machines for suffering.”
Marina Picasso wrote of her grandfather in her book ” Picasso” that he would submit the women to his animal like sexuality, tame them, bewitch them, ingest them, and then crush them. After he had spent many nights extracting their essence, once they were bled dry , he would dispose of them. Sounds like a real piece of work doesn’t he? But the drama and suffering doesn’t just end with the women in his life, it extends to his family as well. His family claims that Pablo needed the blood of those that loved him to sign his paintings. Each painting is signed by him in the blood of children, his wives, his grandchildren. His family has said that they are still in a stranglehold from Pablo’s narcissism and it has caused much grief and suffering. While Pablo was alive all of his mistresses and his first wife Olga suffered nervous break downs due to Pablo’s abuse and his son Paulo developed a fatal alcholism due to depression.
It seems as though in his 70’s Pablo finally found the “one” Her name was Jacqueline. They met in 1953 and he romanced her by bringing her a single rose eery day for six months until she agreed to date him. They married in 1961 and Jacqueline is in hundreds of Pablo’s paintings more then any other women. Yet there are other claims about this relationship that shed light on a darker side of things. It has been said that Pablo cared nothing about Jacqueline and she was just another victim of his abuse that could not escape.
Pablo made appearances in some films always as himself.He was commissioned to make a maquette for a huge 50 foot sculpture to be built in Chicago. Known as the Picasso Chicago, but no one even knows what it is a sculpture of, is it a bird, is it a woman, or a totally abstract shape? The good thing was Pablo donated the money he was to recieve for the project back to the city of Chicago. Pablo’s styles were a mixture in his final works, his means of expression in constsnt flux until the end of his life. He became more daring, his works were more colorful and expressive, and from 1968 to 1971 he produced a torrent of paints and hundreds of copperplate etchings. Many times his works were seen to to the pornographic fantasies of an impotend old man who was way past his prime trying to ad shock and hold on to his fame. Pablo is said to have been a psychopath due to his absence of empathy and love, his lack of remorse and facile rationalizations for hurting others, his lust for seducrion as a way to have power over women and the fact that duplicity and manipulation was his way of life. There are claims he was in fact a rapist, an abuser and a narcissist with a lack of concience. He took pleasure in causing his lovers pain. He said that the more his lovers hurt the better he painted.
Pablo died on April 8th 1973 in France from pulmonary edema and heart failure. His children were not allowed to even attend his funeral. Pablo’s grandson also died that same year by suicide by injesting bleach. Lonely after the death of Pablo and mentally unstable after his abuse, his second wife Jacqueline Picasso killed herself at the age of 59 years old, years after Pablo died in 1986. It is said that he had great success in his career but his personal life was a disaster. He was not a good husband or even good at being in a relationship and was he died a empty man unable to have relationships with with his children. Throughout his life Pablo had several mistresses in addition to his wife or primary partners. He was married twice and had four children by three women.
Paulo Picasso born Feb 4th 1921 mother Olga Khokhlova
Maya Picasso born Sept 5th 1935 mother Marie- Therese Walter
Claude Picasso born may 15th mother Francoise Gilot
Paloma Picasso born April 19th 1949 mother Francoise Gilot
Pablo’s legacy was and remains immense and widely acknowledged by his admirers and detractors alike. In 1939 Life magazine wrote; his enemies say he has been a corrupting influence, with equal violence. His friends say that he is the greatest artist alive. Many say that not even Michelangelo had been as famous in his own lifetime. Even though his personal life was a disaster, and regardless if you are a fan of his art or not, one cannot deny that Pablo Picasso was a force to be reckoned with in the art world. He changed the way a great many people saw art.
Many movies were made about Pablo, in 1996 Anthony Hapkins portrayed Picasso in the movie Surviving Picasso. More of Pablo’s paintings have been stolen then any other artist perhaps because he is still ranked one of the top ranked selling artists as of 2015. Several of Pablo’s paintings ranked as the most expensive paintings in the world selling for as much as 104 million dollars in 2004.
Was Pablo Picasso a good man? No, it seems as though he was many things, but a good man he was not. However his personal issues regarding him being a monster aside, the fact remains that his impact on the art world still stands firm today. I was actually disappointed to find out he was such a monsterous man. For once I would like to do a Featured artist of the week and uncover a artist who was a genuinly good human being. No one is perfect… I get it, but Lord have mercy Pablo was straight out of a horror movie.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post and the information I was able to find has left you with something to think about. lol Let me know your thoughts and until next time, stay blessed.