Picasso, Pablo. (1881-1973)
Pablo Picasso was probably the most famous artist of the twentieth century. During his artistic career, which lasted more than 75 years, he created thousands of works using all kinds of materials. He stands out alongside Matisse as the most influential of 20th century artists. First famous for his pioneering role in Cubism, Picasso continued to develop his art at a pace comparable to that of the accelerated technological changes of the twentieth century.
Picasso was born on October 25, 1881, in Malaga, Spain, son of an artist, Jose Ruiz, and Maria Picasso. Rather than adopt the common name Ruiz, the young Picasso took the rarer name of his mother. An artistic prodigy, Picasso, at the age of 14, completed the one-month qualifying examination of the Academy of Fine Arts in Barcelona in one day.
The years of 1901 to 1904, known as the "blue period" because of the blue tonality of Picasso's paintings were a time of frequent changes of residence between Barcelona and Paris. 1905 and 1906 marked a radical change in color and mood for Picasso. He became fascinated with the acrobats , clowns and wandering families of the circus world.
In 1907, Picasso painted "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," considered the watershed picture of the twentieth century, and met Georges Braque, the other leading figure of the Cubist movement. Cubism was equally the creation of Picasso and Braque and from 1911 to 1913, the two men were in frequent contact.
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso
Guernica by Picasso
For Picasso the 1920's were years of rich artistic exploration and great productivity. Picasso continued to design theater sets and painted in Cubist, Classical and Surreal modes. In late April of 1937, the world learned the shocking news of the saturation bombing of the civilian target of Guernica, Spain by the Nazi Luftwaffe. Picasso responded with his great anti-war painting, "Guernica."
During World War II, Picasso lived in Paris, where he turned his energy to the art of ceramics. From 1947 to 1950, he pursued new methods of lithography.
Pablo Picasso died on April 8, 1973 in Mougins, France at the age of 91.