You are currently viewing Pablo Picasso- By Roshan Jude

Pablo Picasso- By Roshan Jude

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), was a Spanish-born painter and sculptor. Picasso was the originator of Cubism and contributor to many other artistic movements. His abstract paintings made him one of the most controversial and influential artists of the 20th century. Most of Picasso’s numerous sculptures were largely unknown until 1966, when they were included in the Paris retrospective exhibition honoring his 85th birthday. His sculptures are closely related to the themes and forms of his paintings.

Picasso was born in Malaga, the son of an art teacher. A child prodigy, he studied in Barcelona and Madrid, and had his first exhibition at 16. Picasso first went to Paris in 1900, and settled there in 1904. Three years later he met Georges Braque and with him worked out the Cubist style of painting. In 1917, while designing ballet sets for Diaghilev in Rome, Picasso met the ballerina Olga Koklova. They were married the next year. Picasso lived in Paris until after World War II. Settling in southern France, he turned his attention to ceramics and the graphic arts. He was married to Jacqueline Roque in 1961. During his long career, Picasso painted and sculpted in many styles. His works often reflect his many love affairs. In his earliest period known as the Blue period (1902-04), he painted street musicians and beggars in various shades of blue. The figures, as in “The Old Guitarist” (1903), are often elongated. Paintings of his Rose period (1905-06), are dominated by warm colors and tender mood. “Head of a Women (Fernande) (1905) and other sculptures of this period are sensitively modeled realistic bronzes. The influence of African and primitive Iberian sculptures can be seen in his next works.

“Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” (1907), is considered a landmark in modern art. Its broken forms and masklike faces show the influence of African art and led to Picasso’s long Cubist period and to such works as “Three Musicians” (1921). Many of his Cubist sculptures are wood and cardboard reliefs. Naturalism marks “Women in White” (1923) and other works of his neoclassic period of the early 1920’s. His next works, such as “Girl before a Mirror” (1932), stem from cubism but also show the influence of Surrealism and Expressionism. Working with Julian Gonzalez Picasso made “Women in the Garden” (1929-30) and other welded iron and metal sculptures. “Guernica” (1937) is considered his masterpiece. The somber colors of black, white and gray emphasize the horrors of war and the agonies man inflicts on man. Many of the paintings Picasso did during World War II contain skulls and are marked by grotesque distortions. Portraits of agonized women often have double faces. In his sculptures, such as “Man with Sheep” (1944), he used rough modelling to express man’s suffering.

After the war Picasso made many sculptures with found objects. In “Baboon and Young” (1951) a toy car forms the head and a ball the body of the animal. He also became interested in ceramics and produced hundreds of pieces of pottery. Many of his postwar paintings such as “Dinner Is Ready” (1947), and the series “Women of Algiers” (1954-55), are marked by bright colors and decorative patterns. In his paintings of the 1960’s, Picasso continued to distort images, giving his personal interpretation of the subject. His sculptures were mainly made of folded and cut sheet metal. Metal cutout sculptures served as models for the 50-foot, 163-ton steel sculpture erected in Chicago’s Civic Center Plaza in 1967, and for the 36-foot, 60-ton concrete sculpture erected in New York’s Washington Square Center in 1968.

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