Pablo Ruiz y Picasso (1881-1973)
Photo by Lucien Clergue

Picasso is recognized as one of art's great geniuses. Few artists in history have matched his stature and imp act. The son of an art teacher, he gave evidence of his talents early in his life. He was born in Malaga, lived for some years in Barcelona, and in 1901 moved to Paris where an exhibition of his work was held by Ambroise Vollard, an art dealer. Vollard's appreciation of Picasso's talents and his business acumen were key elements in Picasso's rise to dizzying heights. The years 1901 to 1904 marked the artist's blue period, in which he depicted grim social conditions. His rose period followed briefly, and in 1908 Picasso and Georges Braque began to develop cubism. Picasso experimented with collages and portraiture before entering, in the 1920s, what is known as his metamorphic phase, extending classical forms through his own visions. Expressionistic art was reflected in his major work Guernica, which was exhibited in 1937 at the Spanish Pavilion of the Paris World's Fair. Persuaded by printmaker Fernand Mourlot, Picasso turned to lithography in the 1940s.

By 1936, the Spanish Civil War had profoundly affected Picasso, the expression of which culminated in his painting Guernica (1937, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid). Picasso’s association with the Communist Party began in 1944. From the late 1940s, he lived in the South of France. Among the enormous number of Picasso exhibitions that were held during the artist’s lifetime, those at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1939 and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, in 1955 were most significant. In 1961, the artist married Jacqueline Roque, and they moved to Mougins. There Picasso continued his prolific work in painting, drawing, prints, ceramics, and sculpture until his death April 8, 1973.

His inventiveness and verve conquered the medium, making it an exciting art form again and forever setting a standard of excellence. Picasso's graphic oeuvre is tremendous, containing dry points, etchings, woodcuts, linocuts, lithographs, and aquatints. In 1982 a sale of ninety-eight rare prints sold for almost $1.4 million dollars at Sotheby Parke Bernet in New York.



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