Pablo Picasso

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A painter and printmaker who revolutionized western art, Pablo Picasso was born in Spain and lived most of his life either there or in France.  His father was an art teacher, and the young Pablo grew up in an artistic environment.  At age nineteen, he made his first trip to Paris, where he studied the Old Masters and Classical sculpture, and was also exposed to the paintings of Impressionists and Post Impressionists.

Between 1901 and 1904, his work was dominated by a blue palette, which has led to this time being called his “Blue Period.”  Blue, for him, symbolized the “. . . suffering – frequently hunger and cold, the hardships he experienced while attempting to establish himself.”  By 1905, his ‘Rose or Circus Period’ was beginning, and also later that year, he began creating paintings reflective of a growing interest in African masks.  By 1907, he painted what is regarded as his first masterpiece and the first Cubist painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

In 1908, Picasso began working in Paris with Georges Braque (1882-1963), and together until 1914 and the beginning of World War I, they created collages and the first phase of Cubism that included still life and portraits.  Picasso went to Rome from 1914 to 1918 to do set designs and costumes for the Russian Ballet, and during this time also did some realistic painting and drawing, and printmaking emerged as a major part of his art as a result of the time he spent drawing.  His graphic art, which actually dated to 1905, was diverse, as he was ever looking for new modes of expression, and he did etchings, drypoint, linocuts, woodcuts, aquatints and sometimes combinations.  In Rome, he met his first wife, Olga Koklova, a Russian ballet dancer.

In the early 1920s, Picasso did abstract figurative work that was so grotesque in distortion that it set the stage for his participation in Surrealist exhibitions in Europe.  This experimentation with figurative shapes led him to sculpture.  The 1920s are regarded as one of the most productive periods of Picasso’s career.  He did paintings with vivid coloration expressing his “. . .total experience of curvilinear cubism and classical idealism.”

In 1937, inspired by the Spanish Civil War, he painted Guernica, which is regarded as one of his landmark paintings and certainly one that carried a strong message of human suffering during wartime.  During the World War II years, Picasso did a lot of modeling in clay and much creating of assemblages with found objects, and many of the pieces, especially after the War, expressed his sense of humor.

In 1945, Picasso set up shop in a well-known lithography studio, where his creative partnership with the other artists there resulted in ground-breaking lithographic techniques, never before utilized, and produced some of the finest examples of graphic prints ever created.  In the late 1960s, he created the famed 347 Suite, a group of 347 etchings, which was followed by a series of 156 etchings, aptly named the 156 Suite, which were published posthumously, after his death in 1973.

Exhibitions with Somerville Manning Gallery

2015         American and European Masters – Art of the 19th-20th Centuries

2014         American Masters – Art of the 19th-21st Centuries