Biography of Pablo Picasso
Even forty years after his death, artists and art historians are still trying to process the sheer inventive freedom of Pablo Picasso, the most influential and versatile artist of the 20th century. The son of an art teacher, Picasso was born in Malaga in Spain in 1881 and as a child he drew and painted constantly. It did not take long for him to be identified as possessing a startling talent.
Pablo Picasso’s early works can be recognized by their melancholic shades of blue, unsurprisingly this became known as his Blue Period. In 1907, now living in Paris, Picasso had developed a new form of painting known as Cubism. Alongside his fellow artist Georges Braque, Picasso was going through unparalleled artistic innovation which was first heralded by his painting of five prostitutes in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon—an extraordinary work that was so ahead of its time that Picasso himself was unnerved by it and kept it tucked away in a corner of his studio for two years. Its geometric features and distorted faces would come to profoundly influence 20th century art. During this time Picasso was at the center of an intellectual, philosophical, and bohemian circle that including Gertrude Stein, André Breton, and poet Guillaume Apollinaire.
From the mid 1920s Pablo Picasso became caught up in Surrealism which was itself a product of Cubism. Completed in 1937, Picasso’s response to the Spanish Civil War and the horrific development of targeting innocent civilians during wartime was a painting entitled Guernica—now considered one of the greatest paintings of all time.
After the second World War Pablo Picasso became more political and was increasingly enjoying his time in the limelight. By now his painting had become simplified and he had embraced an almost crude, childlike technique. Equally adept as a draughtsman, painter, ceramicist, stage designer, and sculptor, Picasso always argued that his radical shifts in style were a result of having evaluated each subject wholly independently.
Pablo Picasso was well-known for his enjoyment of the good life, an incorrigible womanizer who helped himself to a string of mistresses and fathered four children with three different women. Picasso probably has more museums dedicated to his work than any other artist of the 20th century and the Musée Picasso in Paris has an immense collection of his work. In 2003 the Museo Picasso Málaga was set up in the town of his birth. Many of his earlier works can be seen in the Museu Picasso in Barcelona. It is also in the auction houses that Picasso’s legacy also comes to life and in 2015 his painting Women of Algiers set the record for the highest price ever paid for a painting when it sold at Christie’s, New York, for a staggering $179.3 million. Picasso died in 1973 aged 91, still prolific and full of energy.