Artist: Pablo Picasso
Custom Framed Pablo Picasso Paintings and Prints
At Framed-Arts.com, we offer a wide selection of custom framed Pablo Picasso paintings and framed Picasso prints, from The Violin to Glass of Absinthe. The works we feature by Picasso can be browsed from our custom search page, while this page contains facts about Pablo Picasso and his art. Read on to find out information about the renowned artist’s life and work, including a timeline of Pablo Picasso periods.
Facts About Pablo Picasso - Biography
Pablo Ruiz Picasso, often referred to simply as Picasso, was an internationally renowned painter and sculptor. Born on October 25, 1881, in Málaga, Spain, Picasso became in his lifetime one of the most recognized figures in 20th century art. Thirty-five years after his death, he is best known as the co-founder of cubism.
Picasso’s father, José Ruiz y Blasco, was a professor of art, the curator of a local museum, and a painter who specialized in the naturalistic depiction of birds. As a child, Picasso showed both passion and skill for drawing. From his father, he learned figure drawing and oil painting. But although he attended art schools throughout his childhood, he never completed a college-level course of study, leaving his program at the Academy of Arts in Madrid after less than a year.
Picasso made his first trip to Paris, the art capital of Europe, in 1900. During the early years of the 20th century, he divided his time between Barcelona and Paris. In the French capital, he entertained a distinguished coterie of friends in the Montmartre and Montparnasse quarters. Married twice and the father of four children by three different women, Picasso was known for his womanizing tendencies. In addition to his wife or primary partner, he formed liaisons with a number of other women. Later in life, he owned several villas in the south of France, and had become a celebrity who inspired almost as much interest in his personal life as in his art.
From 1939 to 1940, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City held a major and highly successful retrospective of Picasso’s principal works under the direction of Alfred Barr. This exhibition brought the scope of Picasso’s artistry into full public view in America, and resulted in a reinterpretation of his work by contemporary art historians and scholars.
Timeline of Pablo Picasso’s Work
Picasso's work is often categorized into periods. While the names of his later periods are subject to debate, the most commonly accepted periods of his work are the Blue Period (1901–1904), Rose Period (1905–1907), African-influenced Period (1908–1909), Analytic Cubism (1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919).
Blue Period, 1901–1904
Picasso's Blue Period consists of somber paintings in shades of mostly blue and blue-green. He may have embarked on this period in Spain in the spring of 1901, or possibly in Paris in the second half of the year. In his austere use of color and sometimes doleful subjects—prostitutes, beggars, and gaunt mothers figure prominently—Picasso was influenced by a trip through Spain and by the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas. Beginning in the autumn of 1901, he painted several posthumous portraits of Casagemas, culminating in the gloomy allegorical painting La Vie (1903), now in the Cleveland Museum of Art.
This same ominous mood pervades the well-known etching The Frugal Repast (1904), in which a blind man and a sighted woman, both emaciated, sit at a nearly empty table. Blindness is a recurrent theme in Picasso's works of this period, as can be seen in The Blindman's Meal (1903, the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and in the Portrait of Celestina (1903). Other important works from the Blue Period include Portrait of Soler and Portrait of Suzanne Bloch.
Rose Period, 1904–1906
1904 functioned as a transition year between Picasso’s Blue and Rose Periods. In contrast to the somber blues of his previous works, Picasso’s Rose Period,pieces are characterized by more cheerful orange and pink colors, and often feature acrobats and harlequins. The generally upbeat and optimistic mood of paintings in this period is reminiscent of the 1899-1901 period, just prior to the Blue Period. The harlequin, a comedic character usually depicted in checkered patterned clothing, became a personal symbol for Picasso during this time.
African-influenced Period, 1907–1909
Picasso's African-influenced Period began with his painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, which was inspired by African artifacts. The formal ideas he developed during this period led directly into the Cubist period that followed.
With co-founder Georges Braque, Picasso developed the “cubist” painting style, in which subjects are broken apart, analyzed, and pieced back together in abstract form. Cubism revolutionized twentieth century art, and spawned a variety of modern art movements.
Analytic Cubism, 1909–1912
Picasso and Braque’s first foray into Cubism is called analytic cubism. In this style, the artist takes apart objects, "analyzes" their shapes, and reassembles them using monochrome shades of brown. Picasso and Braque's paintings at this time were very similar to each other.
Synthetic Cubism, 1912–1919
Synthetic cubism is a style of Cubism in which paper fragments--often wallpaper or portions of newspaper pages--are pasted into compositions. Picasso and Braque’s work in this period marked the first use of collage in fine art.
Classicism and Surrealism – The Modern Paintings of Picasso
After World War I, Picasso moved away from Cubism and produced work in a neoclassical style. This modern "return to order" is evident in the work of many European artists in the 1920s. The modern paintings of Picasso featured heavy figures and tranquil tones.
Later, in the 1930s, the minotaur replaced the harlequin as a frequent motif in Picasso’s work. His attachment to the minotaur may have arisen in part from his contact with the surrealists, who often used it as their symbol. The minotaur appears in Guernica, arguably Picasso's most famous work. This large canvas depicts the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, and embodies for many the inhumanity, brutality and hopelessness of war. Asked to explain his painting’s symbolism, Picasso said, "It isn't up to the painter to define the symbols. Otherwise it would be better if he wrote them out in so many words! The public who look at the picture must interpret the symbols as they understand them."
Guernica hung in New York's Museum of Modern Art for many years. In 1981, the painting returned to Spain, where it featured in an exhibit at the Casón del Buen Retiro. In 1992, the painting traveled to Madrid for the opening of the Reina Sofía Museum.
Facts About Pablo Picasso’s Later Works
In the summer of 1949, Picasso was among 250 sculptors featured in the Third Sculpture International held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In the 1950s, his style changed once again as he took to producing reinterpretations of the works of the great masters, including Velazquez, Goya, Poussin, Manet, Courbet and Delacroix.
In the 1960s, he was commissioned to make a maquette for a fifty-foot high sculpture to be built in Chicago, known now as the Chicago Picasso. What the resulting somewhat controversial figure represents--a bird, a horse, a woman or even a totally abstract shape--is not known. The sculpture, one of the most recognizable landmarks in downtown Chicago, was unveiled in 1967. Picasso turned down a proposed payment of $100,000 for the finished piece, and instead donated it to the people of the city.
Toward the end of his life, Picasso’s works became more colourful and expressive. From 1968-71, he produced a torrent of paintings and hundreds of copperplate etchings. At the time, these works were dismissed by most as pornographic fantasies of an impotent old man or the work of an artist past his prime. Only after Picasso's death, when the rest of the art world moved away from abstract expressionism, did critics come to see that Picasso had discovered neo-expressionism and was, in fact, as he had been so often before, ahead of his time.
On April 8, 1973, Pablo Picasso died while he and his wife Jacqueline were entertaining friends in Mougins, France. His last words were, "Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can't drink anymore." He was interred at Castle Vauvenargues' park, in Bouches-du-Rhône.
At the time of his death, many of his paintings were in his possession. In addition, he owned a considerable collection of the work of other famous artists,. Since he left no will, Picasso’s estate tax was paid in the form of his works and others from his collection. These works form the core of the immense and representative collection of the Musée Picasso in Paris. In 2003, relatives of Picasso inaugurated a museum dedicated to him in his birthplace, Málaga, Spain, the Museo Picasso Málaga. Some of Picasso’s paintings currently rank among the most expensive paintings in the world.
We hope this timeline of Pablo Picasso and short biography have provided insight into Picasso’s excellent body of work. You can browse our selection of custom framed Pablo Picasso paintings and framed Picasso prints by visiting our custom search page. Happy print hunting, and please contact us with any questions.