November 09, 2014


Spanish painter, sculptor, draughtsman, printmaker, decorative artist and writer, active in France. He dominated 20th-century European art and was central in the development of the image of the modern artist. Episodes of his life were recounted in intimate detail, his comments on art were published and his working methods recorded on film. Painting was his principal medium, but his sculptures, prints, theatre designs and ceramics all had an impact on their respective disciplines. Even artists not influenced by the style or appearance of his work had to come to terms with its implications.
With Georges Braque Picasso was responsible for Cubism, one of the most radical re-structurings of the way that a work of art constructs its meaning. During his extremely long life Picasso instigated or responded to most of the artistic dialogues taking place in Europe and North America, registering and transforming the developments that he found most fertile. His marketability as a unique and enormously productive artistic personality, together with the distinctiveness of his work and practice, have made him the most extensively exhibited and discussed artist of the 20th century.
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2. PRIMITIVISM & CUBISM 1906 - 1915
Source: Oxford University Press
In his paintings immediately prior to the early Cubist paintings of 1908, Picasso had initiated the breakdown of illusionistic space that he was to pursue with an apparently greater intellectual rigour through Cubism, a style that over the course of a decade secured his prominent place in the history of 20th-century art. For Picasso, however, the restraint of Cubism was preceded by works exhibiting a raw intensity and violence in part stimulated by his reading of non-Western art, and aligned with European currents of primitivism (see Primitivism, §2). This dialogue of apparently contrasting positions, between the intellect and the emotions, between forms of classicism and expressionism and between the conscious and the unconscious, provided the dynamic of much of Picasso’s work.
Picasso and Fernande Olivier spent the summer of 1906 in Gosol, a remote Catalan village in the Pyrenees where he came to terms with his experience of Iberian sculptures from Osuna, which he had seen in the Louvre in the spring. He began in his work to make reference to forms of archaic art and to make expressive use of distortion with insistently rhythmical repetitions and contrasts. In Gosol, Picasso made his first carved sculptures. The resistance of wood produced simplified forms akin to those in his paintings. Gauguin’s work in the same medium, the most immediate European precedent available to Picasso, had been known to him through Paco Durio, a previous tenant in the Bateau-Lavoir; its primitivism had been given authority by the retrospective held at the Salon d’Automne in 1906, and it offered access to another major stimulus, the art of the Pacific Islands. At the same Salon ten paintings by the recently deceased Cézanne were exhibited. Resolving his response to the achievements of these two artists preoccupied Picasso over the next year and helped define his later work. On his return to Paris, Picasso quickly completed his portrait of Gertrude Stein (1906; New York, Met.; for illustration see Stein, (3)), which had been left partly obliterated in the spring after over 80 sittings, giving her a mask-like visage of monumental chiselled forms compressed within a shallow space. The Stein portrait stands as a crucial shift from observation to conceptualization in Picasso’s practice.
The primitivism of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907; New York, MOMA) was more shocking still. While it gestated from a series of preparatory drawings and underwent major overpaintings during its production, it does not so much summarize Picasso’s previous work as reframe his understanding of painting; he called it his ‘first exorcism picture’. This radical picture, seen by friends in his studio and designated by various appellations, was put aside and shown publicly only in 1916, when it was given its present title by Salmon. It was purchased by the couturier Jacques Doucet in 1924 and acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1939 at the time of Picasso’s retrospective. Embedded in its matrix are the vestiges of Picasso’s encounters with 19th-century artists: Ingres, Manet, Delacroix, Cézanne and Gauguin. Initially conceiving it as a narrative brothel scene, Picasso changed it to a vertical format, adopted a more discontinuous sense of space for the setting, removed the male visitors and reorientated the women to confront the (implicitly male) viewer. Controversy surrounded its stylistic disjunctures, confused by Picasso’s own equivocal statements. Rubin (1984) has argued that Picasso reworked the painting in late June and early July after a visit to the African and Oceanic collections in the Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro in Paris. Although the painting has defeated most efforts to specify African or Pacific sources, it records Picasso’s reassessment of Gauguin’s primitivism and attests to the revelations accorded by forms of non-Western carving in terms of conceptual principles of representation and an emotively powerful evocation of magic and ritual. Linking eroticism and the fear of death, the Demoiselles fixed an image that was savage in style and violent in its dismemberment of the female body.
In paintings such as Mother and Child (1907; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 19) and wood-carvings such as Figure (1907; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 238), Picasso probed the fetishistic and conceptually simplifying aspects of primitivism. Although the juxtaposition of discordant elements in the Demoiselles gave way to internal pictorial coherence, in general his work of the following year displays an astonishing diversity of handling. Picasso sundered and isolated illusionistic conventions, using bright hues contrasted with subdued greys and earth colours, striated hatchings against angular crumpled planes, and rhythmic repetitions paired with bar-like outlines. In still-lifes painted in spring and summer 1908 and landscapes executed in August at La Rue-des-Bois, Picasso continued to reflect on the work both of Cézanne, which he had studied in depth at the retrospective held at the Salon d’Automne of 1907, and of Henri Rousseau, whom Picasso and Olivier fêted with a banquet in November.
By October 1907, and probably earlier in the spring of that year, Apollinaire had introduced Georges Braque to Picasso. In the winter of 1908–9 Picasso repainted his monumental Three Women (St Petersburg, Hermitage). Possibly in response to Braque’s Cézanne-influenced landscapes from the summer, in this work and a number of still-lifes Picasso imposed a more consistent control both on the surface and on illusions of space, after the example of Cézanne but with a greater concern for physicality. In contrast to Picasso’s usual assertive individualism, the invention of Cubism was such a joint effort that even he and Braque sometimes had difficulty in distinguishing each other’s work; Braque later described their relationship as that of mountaineers roped together.

In summer 1909 Picasso and Olivier spent four months at Horta de Ebro, where he made views of the village and landscape not only in paintings and drawings but also in photographs. The spatial continuity he admired in Cézanne’s work was treated in his own paintings, such as House on the Hill, Horta de Ebro (1909; New York, MOMA), in terms of nearly monochromatic tilted facets that fragment forms into a flow of light-dispersing surfaces. These discoveries were taken one stage further in pictures made in 1910 during a visit to the Catalan town of Cadaqués in the company of André Derain and his wife. In these works facets seem to be depleted of their substance, leaving a fragmented scaffolding of vestigial planar edges. In a series of etchings illustrating Jacob’s Saint-Matorel (1911; Paris, Geiser, 1933, nos 23–6) Picasso moved towards images that were increasingly transparent and difficult to interpret. The growing discontinuity of figurative fragments that characterized these methods, which came to be labelled Analytical Cubism, was especially apparent in three portraits of art dealers: Ambroise Vollard (spring 1910; Moscow, Pushkin Mus. F. A.), Wilhelm Uhde (spring 1910; St Louis, MO, Joseph Pulitzer priv. col., see Zervos cat. rais., ii, no. 217) and Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (autumn, 1910; Chicago, IL, A. Inst.). While experiments in painting and sculpture had been closely interconnected in Picasso’s primitivism, in his Analytical Cubist phase he produced only Head of a Woman (Fernande) (1909; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 243) and two less satisfactory sculptures.
Picasso signalled his disaffection with the bohemian existence of the Bateau-Lavoir by moving in the autumn of 1909 to a new studio and apartment with maid in the vicinity of the Place Pigalle; he and Fernande began to hold regular open house there on Sundays. He sold paintings to the Russian collector Sergey Shchukin and to Gertrude Stein and Vollard, and exhibited internationally from Moscow to New York in 1910–12. Like Braque, however, with whom he worked very closely in this period, Picasso refused to participate in the Salon d’Automne or the Salon des Indépendants, in spite of the growing number of adherents of Cubism who made use of the Salons as a platform for their work.
After working with Braque at Céret in August 1911, Picasso was forced to return hastily to Paris in early September. The confession by Apollinaire’s friend Géry Piéret to the theft of several sculptures, including two Iberian heads sold to Picasso in 1907, had led to Apollinaire’s arrest for the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. Although Apollinaire was later exonerated, he and Picasso both suffered concern for their status as foreign residents. The autumn marked a change in Picasso’s personal life. He began a liaison with Eva Gouel (Marcelle Humbert), whose presence in his life he commemorated not in portraits but in the words ‘ma jolie’, taken from a popular song, which he applied to the surface of paintings such as Woman with Guitar (‘Ma Jolie’) (1911–12; New York, MOMA). During his stay at Céret, Picasso had begun to deal openly again with more easily legible imagery after his experiments in the spring with nearly abstract paintings (sometimes labelled Hermetic Cubism). Using a pictorial scaffolding that coincided more clearly with the placement of still-life objects, Picasso filled the interstices with a scintillating touch similar to that used by the Neo-Impressionists. Following Braque’s example he employed stencilled lettering, which he soon exploited in verbal puns, masked meanings and multiple readings.
After painting still-lifes that employed lettering, trompe l’oeil effects, colour and textured paint surfaces, Picasso produced Still-life with Chair-caning (May 1912; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 36; for illustration), an oval picture suggesting a café table in perspective surrounded by a frame made of rope. This was the first example of collage, a form of painting or drawing that incorporates pre-existing materials or objects as part of the surface. On to the painted background Picasso applied a piece of oil-cloth printed with an illusionistic chair-caning pattern: the very kind of cloth commonly used as a table-covering in working-class kitchens. The three letters written just above the chair-caning, JOU, can be interpreted both as a fragment of the noun JOURNAL and as a verb indicating Picasso’s perception of his activity as a form of play. In the same year, probably following the invention of collage, Picasso applied similar principles to sculpture in three-dimensional constructions beginning with Guitar (cardboard, 1912; New York, MOMA). A revelation from African art, a Grebo mask, catalysed Picasso’s vision of the possibilities of spatially disjunctive arrangements of signs for object, form and volume. His invention of this radical new sculptural form was to have enormous repercussions not only for his own later work but also for later developments in modern sculpture.

Picasso and Eva Gouel spent the summer of 1912 in Céret, Avignon and Sorgues, where they were joined by the Braques, but returned briefly to Paris in September to move into a new studio found for them by Kahnweiler on the Boulevard Raspail; at the end of the year Picasso signed a three-year contract with Kahnweiler, granting him exclusive purchase rights over his paintings. At Sorgues in mid-September Picasso saw Braque’s first papier collé, a variation of collage that employed not only ready-made materials such as newspapers but also purely invented shapes cut out of sheets of blank paper. On his return to Paris in October, Picasso also began to produce works in this medium, for example Violin and Sheet of Music (autumn 1912; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 368). Both collage and papier collé offered a new method not only of suggesting space but also of replacing conventional forms of representation with fragments of images that function as signs. They provided, in other words, a radically new way of dealing with the pictorial language that Picasso had been prising apart and isolating since the Demoiselles. Pasted newsprint helped Picasso to interpose references to tense pre-war politics, to social violence and absurdity and to artistic matters. During two further phases of his development of papier collé in 1913, Picasso discovered that shapes could acquire other meanings or identities simply by their arrangement, without requiring a resemblance to naturalistic appearances. A single shape might wittily and equally convincingly stand for the side of a guitar or a human head. Elements glued on to the surface, or hand-painted imitations of such material in a sophisticated double-take on the relationship between illusion and reality, were incorporated in subsequent paintings such as Geometric Composition: The Guitar (oil on canvas mounted on wood, 870×475 mm, spring 1913; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 38). Each element in the works of this phase, known as Synthetic Cubism, was carefully considered for the ways it could contribute to pictorial meaning.
In the same year that Apollinaire published Les Peintres cubistes: Méditations esthétiques (Paris, 1913), Picasso showed paintings in group exhibitions in Vienna and Prague, at the Armory Show in New York and at the Jack of Diamonds exhibition in Moscow; he also held his first large retrospective, comprising work from 1901 to 1912, at the Galerie Thannhauser in Munich. From mid-March Picasso and Eva Gouel spent five months in Céret, accompanied by Max Jacob and later by Juan Gris, and in August they moved into new quarters in the Rue Schoelcher. Although the designation of two phases of Cubism first made by Kahnweiler in Der Weg zum Kubismus (Munich, 1920), which distinguished between an analytical description of objects and a synthesis of information about an object into a more unified self-sufficient structure, has dated, the terminology remains; however, numerous works of this period resist rigid classification as examples of either Analytical or Synthetic Cubism. Woman in an Armchair (autumn 1913; New York, Mrs Victor Ganz priv. col., see Penrose and Golding, 1973, no. 131), resuming a favourite early theme, includes traces of Analytical Cubist colour and faceting as deliberate signs of other systems of representation within a Synthetic Cubist matrix. By contrast the Card Player (1914; New York, MOMA) appears more ironically detached, but it too rejects a single consistent reading by juxtaposing several kinds of pictorial space and illusionistic conventions.
The Demoiselles, as Picasso’s first major painting to feature stylistic disconnectedness, was followed by papiers collés and Synthetic Cubist paintings that significantly ruptured previous conceptions of style. By such means Picasso discovered that sets of pictorial conventions could be manipulated with the same freedom as individual components. In the unfinished painting The Painter and his Model (oil and pencil on canvas, summer 1914; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 53) and in portrait drawings of 1915, he startlingly made use of naturalistic conventions of drawing, shading and space; nevertheless, concurrent with these critiques of the disintegration of consistency and wholeness in Cubism, he both elaborated the decorative possibilities of Cubism and distilled a more purified austerity. The possible variations made room for humour, irony and high seriousness.
From June to November 1914 Picasso lived in Avignon. At the outbreak of World War I in August, Braque and Derain were mobilized and Apollinaire applied for French citizenship and joined the artillery. Only Gris, a fellow Spaniard, remained from the Cubist circle. Although, unlike his French colleagues, Picasso was able to carry on painting without interruption, his work became more sombre during the war years as his life altered dramatically. Kahnweiler’s contract had lapsed on his departure from France, and in the autumn of 1914 Picasso’s work began to be sold by Léonce Rosenberg. He suffered deep loss with the death of Eva Gouel on 14 December 1915 but had a brief secret affair with Gaby Lespinasse in 1915–16. In March 1916 Apollinaire returned wounded from the front; although they renewed their friendship, Picasso began to frequent a new social circle, that of the Ballets Russes, with the encouragement of a young poet whom he had recently met, Jean Cocteau, whose admiration quickly approximated adulation.

Etching, 1934, Signed in Pencil,
From the Total Edition of 310, Plate 82 
From the Vollard Suite,
On Montval Laid Paper With the Vollard Watermark,
Printed by Lacourière, Paris, Published by Vollard, Framed
Dimensions: Image: 222 by 313 mm, Sheet: 339 by 449 mm 


From 156 Series
Etching, Dry Point and Aquatint on Paper
Dimensions Unconfirmed: 370 x 500 mm
Collection: Tate


Aquatint, Scraper, Drypoint, and Etching, 1934,
Possibly Printed in 1939, a Proof Aside From the Total Edition of 310,
Plate 25 From the Vollard Suite, on Wove Paper,
Printed by Lacourière, Paris, Framed
Dimensions: Plate: 129 by 179 mm, Sheet: 224 by 317 mm 8 

Oil on Canvas - 18.5 x 20.3 cm
Credit Line: Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society , New York

Suite Vollard 9 (Vollard Suite 9), 1931
Etching on Laid Paper
Dimensions: Image: 22,1 x 31,2 cm / Support: 34 x 44,5 cm
Category:Graphic Art

Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 100 x 81 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Thannhauser Collection,
Gift, Justin K. Thannhauser, 1978
© 2017 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

One year before Picasso painted the monumental still life Mandolin and Guitar, Cubism’s demise was announced during a Dada soiree in Paris by an audience member who shouted that “Picasso [was] dead on the field of battle”; the evening ended in a riot, which could be quelled only by the arrival of the police. Picasso’s subsequent series of nine vibrantly colored still lifes (1924–25), executed in a bold Synthetic Cubist style of overlapping and contiguous forms, discredited such a judgment and asserted the enduring value of the technique. But the artist was not simply resuscitating his previous discoveries in creating this new work; the rounded, organic shapes and saturated hues attest to his appreciation of contemporary developments in Surrealist painting, particularly as evinced in the work of André Masson and Joan Miró. The undulating lines, ornamental patterns, and broad chromatic elements of Mandolin and Guitar foretell the emergence of a fully evolved sensual, biomorphic style in Picasso’s art, which would soon celebrate the presence of his new mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter.
When Picasso met Marie-Thérèse on January 11, 1927 in front of Galeries Lafayette in Paris, she was 17 years old. As he was married at the time and she only a teenager, they were compelled to conceal their intense love affair. While their illicit liaison was hidden from public view, its earliest years are documented, albeit covertly, in Picasso’s work. Five still lifes painted during 1927—incorporating the monograms “MT” and “MTP” as part of their compositions—cryptically announce the entry of Marie-Thérèse into the artist’s life. By 1931 explicit references to her fecund, supple body and blond tresses appear in harmonious, voluptuous images such as Woman with Yellow Hair. Marie-Thérèse became a constant theme; she was portrayed reading, gazing into a mirror, and, most often, sleeping, which for Picasso was the most intimate of depictions.
The abbreviated delineation of her profile—a continuous, arched line from forehead to nose—became Picasso’s emblem for his subject, and appears in numerous sculptures, prints, and paintings of his mistress. Rendered in a sweeping, curvilinear style, this painting of graceful repose is not so much a portrait of Marie-Thérèse the person as it is Picasso’s abstract, poetic homage to his young muse.

Indian Ink on Paper
Dimensions: 50,5 x 60,5 cm
Category: Work on Paper, Drawing
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2017

Mougins, 15 July and 14 November 1971 | 
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 195 x 130 cm
Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso Para el Arte.
On Temporary Deposit at the Museo Picasso Málaga
© FABA Photo: Marc Domage © Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2017

Author: MaxJacob
August 1910, Published 1911
Etching From an Illustrated Book with Four Etchings, One With Dry Point
Dimensions: Plate: 20 x 14.2 cm; Sheet: 26.2 x 21.4 cm
Credit Line: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Watercolor on Paper  
Dimensions: 22.4 x 17.5 cm
Credit Line: The John S. Newberry Collection
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

1915, published 1929
Engraving, Drypoint, Andaquatint
Dimensions: Plate: 15.5 x 11.5 cm; Sheet (irreg.): 28.3 x 19.4 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. WalterBareiss
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Oil and Black Chalk on Canvas
Dimensions: 130 x 97 cm
Category: Painting
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2017

Etching, 1934, Printed in 1961, 
Baer's B.b of C, Stamped With the Artist's Signature and 
Inscribed in Pencil Epreuve d'artiste, One of 19 Recorded Artist's
Proofs Aside From the Numbered Edition of 50,
On Greenish Laid Paper, Printed by Frélaut, Paris
Dimensions: Plate: 317 by 226 mm, Sheet: 525 by 395 mm
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2017

Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 130 x 195 cm
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2017

The motif of the mother holding the dead child is one of the most significant in Guernica, and this image of motherhood was to become an obsession with Pablo Picasso, who continued to depict it after the mural was completed. The pictures done once the painting was finished, on June 4th 1937, are known as the ‘postscripts’ to Guernica, meaning work done in the painting’s wake but still linked formally and conceptually to it, such as is the case with this painting, Madre con niño muerto (II). Postscripto de «Guernica» (Mother with Dead Child [II]. Postscript for “Guernica”, September 26th) or in a subsequent development of the subject, in the numerous heads of weeping women.
As in other Picasso artworks known for their social content, in Madre con niño muerto (II) the artist decided against the use of colour, in the strict sense of the term. The choice to use monochrome could be the result, therefore, of a desire to accentuate the abstract side of reality, resulting in the transformation of a specific event into a universal archetype.
Paloma Esteban Leal

Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 92 x 73 cm
Category: Painting
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2017

One of the central motifs linked to Guernica are the figures known as the “weeping women”, inspired in their physical appearance by Dora Maar. These portraits would be the pictures Pablo Picasso redid most often once he had completed the great mural on June 4th 1937. Picasso introduced at least three formal variations to the compositions with regard to Guernica itself, the first being the tears that run down the contorted female faces, which do not appear in the legendary work. The second element, similarly absent from Guernica, is the handkerchief wiping the tears and finally, alongside these two iconographic motifs, Picasso includes a third formal variation; vivid colour, which becomes the protagonist of these paintings, contrasting with the chromatic range of the great mural, executed, as everybody knows, in whites, greys and blacks. The “Weeping Woman” was to become a recurrent motif in Picasso’s output even up to the 1940s, creating a link with the stylistic cycle begun by the painter in 1937, when he undertook the renowned painting.
Paloma Esteban Leal

Cut-and-Pasted Colored Paper, Printed Paper, and Painted Paper,
Pencil, and Gouache on Prepared Board
Dimensions: 40 x 52.7 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. And Mrs. Daniel Saidenberg
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Beginning of 1939, Published 1943
Etching and Aquatint
Dimensions: Plate: 66.7 x 51.2 cm; Sheet: 76 x 56.5 cm
Credit Line: Acquired Through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Juan-les-Pins, summer 1925
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 97.9 x 131.1 cm
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Plate VIII from the  Illustrated Book Le Chef-D'Oeuvreinconnu
 (Printexecuted 1927-1928) - Etching
Dimensions: Plate: 19.4 x 27.9 cm; Page: 33 x 25.2 cm
Credit Line: The Louis E. Stern Collection
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Oil and Black Chalk on Canvas
Dimensions: 130 x 97 cm
Category: Painting
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2017

Cut-and-Pasted Colored Paper and Printed Paper, Charcoal, and Ink on Paper
Dimensions: 62.2 x 47.3 cm
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Paris, March 1914
Oil, Sand, and Charcoal on Canvas 
Dimensions: 115.5 x 47.5 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. And Mrs. David Rockefeller
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 

Paris, Winter 1913-14
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions 108 x 89.5 cm
Credit Line: Acquired Through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Ink and Pencil on Paper - 
Dimensions: 30.7 x 18.7 cm
Credit Line: Louise Reinhardt Smith Bequest
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 200 200 cm.
Legacy of Baroness Eva Gourgaud in 1965
Centre Pompidou

Etching, 1933, Printed in 1939,
From the Total Edition of 310, Plate 41 From the Vollard Suite,
On Montval Laid Paper, Printed by Lacourière, Paris,
Published by Vollard, Paris
Dimensions: Plate: 194 by 267 mm, Sheet: 330 by 440 mm
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2017


Dimensions: Composition: 73.3 x 55 cm; Sheet: 75 x 56.3 cm
Credit Line:Mrs. Bertram Smith Fund
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Dimensions: Composition: 53.8 x 64.9 cm; Sheet: 53 x 64.9 cm
Credit Line: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


April 23, 1933, Printed 1939 - Drypoint
Dimensions: Plate: 29.6 x 36.5 cm; Sheet: 34 x 45.1 cm
Credit Line: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Oil Paint on Canvas
Dimensions Support: 1299 x 972 mm
Collection: Tate

(B. 1787; BA. 1804)
Etching, 1968, Signed in Pencil, a Proof Aside From the Numbered Edition of 50,
Plate 307 From the 347 Series,
On Wove Paper, Printed by Crommelynck, Mougins
Dimensions: Plate: 148 by 209 mm, Sheet: 283 by 348 mm 11
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2017

Oil, Conté Crayon & Chalk on Canvas
Dimensions: 129.1 x 194 cm
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, 1976
© 2017 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

During the early months of 1937 Pablo Picasso was responding powerfully to the Spanish Civil War with the preparatory drawings for Guernica and with etchings such as The Dream and Lie of Franco, an example of which is in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. However, in this period he also executed a group of works that do not betray this preoccupation with political events. The subject of On the Beach, also known as Girls with a Toy Boat, specifically recalls Picasso’s Three Bathers of 1920. Painted at Le Tremblay-sur-Mauldre near Versailles, On the Beach is one of several paintings in which he returns to the ossified, volumetric forms in beach environments that appeared in his works of the late 1920s and early 1930s. On the Beach can be compared with Henri Matisse’s Le Luxe, II, ca. 1907–08, in its simplified, planar style and in the poses of the foreground figures. It is plausible that the arcadian themes of his friendly rival Matisse would appeal to Picasso as an alternative to the violent images of war he was conceiving at the time.
At least two preparatory drawings have been identified for this work. In one (Collection Musée Picasso, Paris), the male figure looming on the horizon has a sinister appearance. In the other drawing (present whereabouts unknown),¹ as in the finished version, his mien is softened and neutralized to correspond with the features of the two female figures. The sense of impotent voyeurism conveyed as he gazes at the fertile, exaggeratedly sexual “girls” calls to mind the myth of Diana caught unaware at her bath.


Source: Oxford University Press
Picasso received his first lessons in 1888 from his father, José Ruiz Blasco (1838–1913), a painter specializing in pictures of pigeons and doves, and a teacher of drawing at the Escuela Provincial de Bellas Artes in Málaga. It was Picasso’s father who first recognized and encouraged his aptitude for art. His earliest preserved drawings, produced as a child of nine, display a precocious grasp of naturalistic conventions. The imagery of his childhood and teenage drawings reflects his father’s repertory, a fascination with the bullfight (e.g. Bullfight, La Coruña, 2 Sept 1894; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 401) and conventional academic studies (e.g. Study of a Torso, after a Plaster Cast, 1894–5; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 405).
In 1891 the family, including Picasso’s two younger sisters, moved to La Coruña, on the Atlantic coast, where in 1892 Picasso enrolled in his father’s classes in ornamental drawing at the Escuela de Bellas Artes before progressing to drawing from figures and plaster casts and to painting from nature. In 1895 he produced about 15 oil portraits both of family friends and of socially marginal types which sympathetically present the sitter, for example Girl with Bare Feet (1895; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 2). He also experimented from 1894 with more biting caricatures and satirical sketches in manuscript ‘newspapers’ variously titled Azul (or Asul ) y blanco and La Coruña (e.g. 16 Sept 1894; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 402), which emulated the subject-matter of popular political journals of the time.
Picasso’s father changed teaching jobs again in 1895, this time moving to the Escuela de Bellas Artes (known as La Lonja) in Barcelona. In September, aged only 14, Picasso passed the examinations to enter the senior course in classical art and still-life. During the next few years he began to assert his independence, attending the academy only irregularly. He found a studio with a friend, Manuel Pallarés, and began exhibiting his work. The First Communion (1896; Barcelona, Mus. Picasso) and Science and Charity (1897; Barcelona, Mus. Picasso), awarded a gold medal at the Exposición de Bellas Artes in Málaga, were both characterized by a sharp delineation and tonal modelling that contrasted with the light, boldly brushed handling in landscapes of the same period, such as Mountain Landscape (c. 1896; Barcelona, Mus. Picasso).
In autumn 1897 Picasso briefly attended the Academia Real de San Fernando in Madrid, but he was critical of its teaching and instead studied the diverse range of Old Master paintings in the Prado, where he copied a portrait of Philip IV by Velázquez. With Pallarés he departed in June 1898 for the village of Horta de Ebro (now Horta de San Juan). On his return to Barcelona in February 1899 he began to frequent Els Quatre Gats (Cat.: The Four Cats), a café that served as a meeting-place for the Catalan modernist movement. There he became acquainted with a circle of artists and writers; the friendships that most affected his development as an artist were with the painter Carles Casagemas (1880–1901) and the poet Jaime Sabartés (1881–1968). Picasso quickly established himself as provocateur among the younger generation, taking account of Art Nouveau (especially in his graphic work) and in his paintings evoking the fin-de-siècle Symbolism of artists as diverse as Toulouse-Lautrec and Munch; it was through this milieu that he also came to appreciate the work of El Greco.
Several major events in Picasso’s artistic maturation coincided with the new century. In February 1900 he exhibited 150 drawings, mostly portraits, at Els Quatre Gats, directly challenging his older colleague Ramón Casas; several of these were published. A painting, Last Moments (destr.), was selected for the Exposition Universelle in Paris, and in October he left with Casagemas for Paris, where he met two dealers, Pedro Mañach and Berthe Weill, to whom he sold works; Mañach also offered him a regular income in exchange for paintings. Until 1904 Picasso moved restlessly between Spain and Paris. From January to April 1901 he lived in Madrid where, in February, he received news of Casagemas’s suicide. In response he produced several intense images of his dead friend including the Death of Casagemas (summer 1901; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 3) and a symbolically complex work, Evocation: The Burial of Casagemas (1901; Paris, Mus. A. Mod. Ville Paris), which superimposed allusions to the art of the past and in particular to El Greco’s Burial of Count Orgaz (1586–8; Toledo, S Tomé). In Madrid, Picasso and the Catalan writer Francisco de Asis Soler founded a review, Arte Joven, which was modelled on the Barcelona publication Pél i Ploma but which ran for only four issues. This period in Madrid, although brief, marked an important turning-point in the development of Picasso’s identity; it was at this time that he began signing his works Picasso rather than P. Ruiz Picasso or P. R. Picasso as before, favouring his mother’s more distinctive and uncommon surname.
Picasso’s second visit to Paris lasted from May 1901 to January 1902, and the third from October 1902 to January 1903. During his third stay he shared cramped quarters and a rare period of impoverishment with the poet Max Jacob, whom he had met on his previous visit. In late June 1902, before the opening of his exhibition at the Galerie Vollard, he sold 15 of the 64 works to be displayed; most of these paintings, such as The Death of Casagemas, employed bright hues and broken brushstrokes. The show was favourably reviewed by Félicien Fagus in the Revue Blanche, and an exhibition of Picasso’s pastels was held concurrently at the Sala Parés in Barcelona. He also participated in two exhibitions at the Berthe Weill gallery in Paris in April and November 1902.

By the end of 1901, in works such as Self-portrait (late 1901; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 4), Picasso had adopted a predominantly blue palette and shed his motifs of their earlier sardonic social vision. From this time until 1904, known as the Blue Period, his imagery focused on outcasts, beggars and invalided prostitutes, the latter based on observations made at the prison of St Lazare in Paris. He produced his first sculptures: a modelled figure, Seated Woman (1901; see 1967 exh. cat., p. 50), and two bronze facial masks, Blind Singer and Head of a Picador with a Broken Nose (both 1903; see 1967 exh. cat., p. 51). One of the most important works of the period, however, was a painting, La Vie (1903; Cleveland, OH, Mus. A.), a complex Symbolist allegory that evolved through numerous sketches. From X-rays it is known to have been painted over Last Moments and to have undergone several revisions. Its synthesis and layering of references rule out a fixed reading. Autobiography is embedded in the male figure, which was begun as a self-portrait but later given the features of Casagemas; the iconically stiff composition, compressed space and enigmatic gestures, however, evoke a more general significance.
Picasso returned in April 1904 to Paris, where he settled in a studio at le Bateau-lavoir and soon surrounded himself with a ‘Parisian family’. From this time he made France his home. He was introduced to the poet and critic André Salmon by Max Jacob, and in the autumn he met Guillaume Apollinaire. He began a liaison at this time with Fernande Olivier, whose features were given to many of his female figures during the next few years. His first important etching, The Frugal Meal (1904; Geiser, 1933, no. 21), was typical of Blue Period paintings such as The Blind Man’s Meal (1903; New York, Met.) in its subject-matter of a gaunt, impoverished couple in spartan surroundings. The end of the Blue Period was marked by an exhibition in October 1904 at the Berthe Weill gallery of 12 works from the previous three years.
By the end of 1904 both the colour schemes and subject-matter of Picasso’s paintings had brightened. His pictures began to be dominated by pink and flesh tints and by delicate drawing; although the works were less monochromatic than those that preceded them, this phase came to be labelled his Rose Period. A fascination with images of saltimbanques, harlequins and clowns may be linked both to frequent visits to the Cirque Médrano and to an identification with such characters as alter-egos, a legacy of the 19th century. Family of Saltimbanques (1905; Washington, DC, N.G.A.), which includes figures that have been identified as disguised portraits of Picasso and members of his circle, sums up his preoccupations during this time. The idea of a group of figures who appear alienated and unable to communicate with each other, placed in a flattened and disjunctive space, seems to have been derived from Manet’s Old Musician (1862; Washington, DC, N.G.A.). Details of more anecdotal subject-matter are visible in preliminary sketches and X-ray photographs, but these were eliminated in the course of painting. Picasso’s debt to late 19th-century Symbolism remains in evidence, here evoking a state of being rather than an allegorical allusion, as had been the case in La Vie.
In summer 1905 Picasso visited the town of Schoorl in the Netherlands at the invitation of a writer, Tom Schilperoort. In the few paintings made by him during this month, such as Dutch Girl (Brisbane, Queensland A.G.), he began to introduce weightier figures, and the works that he produced in the autumn developed in gravity and opacity; figures viewed frontally and in strict profile impose an archaizing stylization on a classical simplicity, as in the slightly later La Toilette (1906; Buffalo, NY, Albright-Knox A.G.). Two of these works were purchased by Leo Stein and his sister Gertrude, who soon became two of Picasso’s most important patrons and frequent hosts to him at their weekly salons. The other major artist promoted by the Steins during this period was Henri Matisse, who with fellow painters made a sensation at the Salon d’Automne of 1905 as instigators of a new movement, Fauvism. The Fauvists’ use of bright, unmodulated colour was not immediately reflected in Picasso’s paintings, but the same Salon d’Automne included an Ingres retrospective, a room devoted to Cézanne and three paintings by Henri Rousseau; the work of each of these artists was to play an important role in the evolution of Picasso’s art.





Source: Oxford University Press
(I) THEATRE DESIGNS, 1916 - 1922
Cocteau had already begun to plan the ballet that was to become Parade by the time he met Picasso. In May 1916 he introduced Picasso to Serge Diaghilev, impresario of the Ballets Russes, and by August Picasso joined the enterprise. Picasso designed five complete ballet productions by 1924, four of them for the Ballets Russes. Theatre design encouraged his protean qualities and offered new challenges. It brought him into contact with an expanded public and with the dancer Olga Koklova, whom he married in July 1918, and professional associates in other fields. Each ballet had different demands. The first, Parade (première 18 May 1917), and the last, Mercure (première 18 June 1924), spawned the most radical ideas. Parade evolved as a collaborative effort between Picasso, Cocteau, the composer Erik Satie and the choreographer Léonide Massine. The self-referentially theatrical scenario drawn from popular entertainment afforded Picasso scope for his first major juxtaposition of Cubism (the décor) and naturalism (the drop curtain) and his most comprehensive retrospective of imagery to date. Large Cubist constructions were worn as body masks by several ‘Managers’. Costumes for other characters employed found elements or refashioned the image of the body in terms of art.
Later Ballets Russes projects adopted more unified, decorative use of pictorial conventions and extended theatrical self-consciousness by displacing the action to a stage within a stage. Diaghilev’s rejection of some sketches gave Picasso a taste of the constrictions of commercial collaboration. For Mercure, staged as part of the Soirées de Paris, an enterprise sponsored by Etienne, Comte de Beaumont (1883–1956), he devised several moving tableaux with ‘poses plastiques’ by Massine and music by Satie. Mercure baited audience taste with a grotesque parody of Classical mythology and seriously challenged conventional dance theatre, quite literally absorbing the dancers into the visual conception of the stage. Picasso also designed a set for Cocteau’s adaptation of Antigone (Dec 1922), his only work for the dramatic theatre during this period; the couturier Coco Chanel (1883–1970) supplied the costumes.
Theatre design sanctioned Picasso’s use of style as a convention in the painter’s vocabulary, as an element that could be donned and put aside like a theatrical role, costume or mask. His contact with dance may also have encouraged him to look more closely at bodily gesture and to explore an imagery of motion. Encouraged by Koklova’s bourgeois aspirations, Picasso also assumed a new way of life, moving into a more elegant apartment on the Rue La Boëtie in November 1918, spending time in fashionable resorts, associating with socialites and appearing in fancy dress costume as a matador at one of the Comte de Beaumont’s parties.
In spite of the pressures on his time of both his theatre work and social life, Picasso maintained his ambitions as a painter. Cubism continued to inform his work, but his last large pronouncements of pure Synthetic Cubist order were two versions of Three Musicians (1921; Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A., and New York, MOMA). The tightly interlocked, decoratively detailed and visually punning Philadelphia version contrasts with the New York version’s more enigmatic treatment set in a shallow spatial stage. The commedia dell’arte characters, besides referring to Picasso’s past imagery and to his current theatrical preoccupations, may also form part of a tribute to a specific period in his life. According to Reff (1980), Harlequin represents Picasso; Pierrot stands for Apollinaire, who had died on 9 November 1918; and the monk-like figure is a substitute for Max Jacob, who went into seclusion at the Benedictine abbey at St Benoît-sur-Loire in June 1921 and at whose baptism in 1915 Picasso had acted as godfather.

During the 1920s, concurrent with his continuing investigations of Cubism, Picasso devised a personal form of neo-classicism. Cocteau referred to such retrospective tendencies in the arts after World War I as a ‘rappel à l’ordre’; Picasso, however, had entertained such alternatives to Cubism as early as 1914. As a counterpart to Three Musicians he produced Three Women at the Spring, also in two versions (1921; New York, MOMA; and Paris, Mus. Picasso, 74), referring directly to Classical precedent in the physiognomy and garb of the figures and in the massively volumetric suggestion of carved high relief. Not all the classicizing works so directly evoke a golden age; monumental forms are sometimes clothed in modern dress, Classical gravity and order are sometimes unsettled (as in Still-life with Pitcher and Apples, 1919; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 64), and some works display a delicate linear lyricism or more elastic distortions. During this period Picasso also paraphrased and parodied work by Manet and the Le Nain brothers, for example The Happy Family, after Le Nain (1917–18; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 56). A soft-focus naturalism, sometimes alluding to Renoir or Corot, served for numerous portraits of Olga and of their son Paulo (b 4 Feb 1921).
Picasso travelled more extensively than before during these years. From February to April 1917 he was in Rome for the preparations of Parade and from there visited Naples and Pompeii. This direct experience of Italy and Roman Antiquity may have encouraged his classicizing investigations. In June and July of the same year he accompanied the Ballets Russes to Madrid and Barcelona and in May 1919 to London. He spent his summers in fashionable seaside towns: Biarritz, Saint-Raphaël, Juan-les-Pins, Dinard, Cap d’Antibes and Monte Carlo. While he lost his two closest friends, Apollinaire and Jacob, he made new acquaintances of a younger generation, such as fellow Spaniard Joan Miró in 1919 and the American Gerald Murphy. His friendship was also courted by poets such as Cocteau and the burgeoning Surrealists Louis Aragon and André Breton.
Despite the fluctuation in prices brought about by sales in 1921 and 1923 of the Uhde and Kahnweiler collections sequestered by the French government, Picasso’s reputation prospered. He showed pre-Cubist works in a joint exhibition with Matisse at the Galerie Paul Guillaume (Jan–Feb 1918) and had several exhibitions at Paul Rosenberg’s gallery (1919, 1920 and 1924); he also exhibited in Rome, Munich and New York. His illustrations were published in books by his poet friends, and the first monograph on his work, by Maurice Raynal, appeared in German in 1921 and in French translation in 1922.
© 2009 Oxford University Press


Royan, June 1940
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 130.1 x 97.1 cm
Credit Line: Louise Reinhardt Smith Bequest
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Black Chalk on Canvas
Dimensions: 182 x 216 cm
Entry date: 1988 (from the redistribution of the Museo
Español de Arte Contemporáneo [MEAC] collection)

The theme of bathers, and indeed beach scenes in general, always held a great fascination for Pablo Picasso, who depicted them from different approaches and in a succession of styles. However, both for the atypicality of its iconography and the size and technique, La nageuse (The Swimmer) constitutes a special case within Picasso’s universe of sea-themed figures and objects. Unlike most cases, in this picture from 1934 Marie-Thérèse Walter primarily inspires fear. Her blond hair has been transformed into a stiff plume, which seems to end in a knifepoint, and the magnetism emanating from her squinting eyes is surpassed only by the sensation of greed transmitted by her funnel-like mouth, waiting to swallow a hypothetical prey. Brandishing her femininity – embodied in her heavy breasts – like a banner, rather than enjoying the welcoming embrace of the water, this ambiguous and terrifying character, with its huge stiff fin-like hands, seems to be preparing for an imminent attack. Given the proximity of armed conflict in his own country, it would not be too farfetched to believe that Picasso conceived this ghostly apparition as a distant antecedent of Guernica itself.
Paloma Esteban Leal


Medium Aquatint and Dry Point on Paper
Dimensions: 902 x 635 mm
Collection: Tate

Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 55 x 46 cm
Entry date: 1988 ( From the Redistribution of
the Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo [MEAC] Collection )

Oil and Charcoal on Canvas 
Dimensions: 199.8 x 250.1 cm
Credit Line: Mrs. Sam A. Lewisohn Bequest (by exchange), and Mrs. Marya Bernard Fund in Memory of Her Husband Dr. Bernard Bernard, and Anonymous Funds
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Author: MaxJacob
Etching From an Illustrated Book With Four Etchings, One With Dry Point
Dimensions: Plate: 19.9 x 14.2 cm ; Sheet (irreg.): 26.1 x 20.6 cm
Credit Line: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

 Feb. 16, 1962, Published 1963 - Linoleum Cut
Dimensions: Composition: 63.8 x 52.5 cm; Sheet: 75 x 61.9 cm
Credit Line: Gift of the Saidenberg Gallery, New York
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Plate IX From the Illustrated Book Le Chef-D'Oeuvre In Connu
 (Print executed 1927-1928) - Etching
Dimensions: Plate: 19.4 x 27.8 cm; Page: 33 x 25.2 cm
Credit Line: The Louis E. Stern Collection
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


1911, Published 1912 - Drypoint
Dimensions: Plate: 49.8 x 30.5 cm; Sheet (irreg.): 62 x 42.4 cm
Credit Line: Acquired Through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York



Etching, 1915, Signed in Red Crayon, 
From the Total Edition of 102, 
On Laid Japan Paper,
Published by Lucien Vollard-Marcel Lecomte, Paris, Framed
Dimensions: Plate: 279 by 218 mm, Sheet: 458 by 290 mm
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2017

Oil on canvas - 61 x 50.8 cm
Credit Line: Mrs. David M. LevyBequest
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Lithograph on paper
Dimensions: 42,5 x 32,5 cm
Category: Graphic Art
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2017


Linocut, Gouge and Linoleum Printed in Four Inks on Paper,
Dimensions: 63.8 x 53 cm
Museo Picasso Málaga. Purchased 2010
© Museo Picasso Málaga. Photo: Rafael Lobato
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2017

The starting point for the period defined as “late Picasso” is now considered to be the early 1960s. While art history needs to define concrete periods, there were still numerous other “Picassos” at that time. This is evident in the present linocut of 1962 depicting Jacqueline, whom the artist had married the year before and who would be his last partner in life. Linocut was one of Picasso’s final techniques, which he first started to use in the 1950s for various posters but which reached a new high point in 1958 with the tour de force of Portrait of a Woman after Cranach the Younger.
Jacqueline in a Straw Hat belongs to the three most intensive years for the artist’s use of this technique, 1959 to 1962. The result was a vast body of work that astonished observers at the time, not only for the combinations and superimpositions of colours but also for the artist’s unorthodox working method. Picasso’s dealer Kahnweiler was amazed when he saw his first works in this medium: “At first he limited himself to three or four colours, now he’s doing prints with twelve colours on a single plate! It’s diabolical” He has to anticipate the effect of each colour as there’s no going back. I don’t know what name to give to this mental operation.” As he did with ceramics, Picasso’s experiments with this new technique took it to its limits in an all-encompassing approach that aimed to discover all its technical procedures and to achieve the most difficult aspect, which is mentally anticipating the final composition.
In Jacqueline in a Straw Hat Picasso created the face using a calligraphy identical to that seen in various drawings of the same day. This is a work in which the artist constructed the face in the most economical way from a combination of straight and curved lines and bright colours which contrast strongly with the white background; a type of colouring and forms that to some extent recall Joan Miró’s graphic language. Once again we have the classic doubling of the face-mirror, which is very similar to the above-mentioned drawings of this date. In fact, in that month of January 1962, Jacqueline’s face would be Picasso’s primary focus, giving rise to various linocuts. This month also saw the start of various celebrated series in the same technique such as his versions of the Danaë and Le déjeuner sur l’herbe. This “penultimate” Picasso breaks out at different moments, embarking on new directions and new experiments which, as in this case, would remain unfinished as he abandoned working in linocut around 1963 with the exception of a few works created up to 1968.
Text: Eduard Vallés


Ink on Transparentized Paper
Dimensions: 17.1 x 12.7 cm
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

LIFE 1903
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 196.5 × 129.2 cm
Scala / Art Resource, NY / Picasso, Pablo (1881-1973) © ARS, NY
The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland


C. 1920 - Stencil
Dimensions: Composition: 27.5 x 21.3 cm; Sheet: 30.5 x 23.8 cm
Credit Line: Lillie P. Bliss Collection
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 349,3 x 776,6 cm
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2017

The government of the Spanish Republic acquired the mural "Guernica" from Picasso in 1937. When World War II broke out, the artist decided that the painting should remain in the custody of New York's Museum of Modern Art for safe keeping until the conflict ended. In 1958 Picasso extended the loan of the painting to MoMA for an indefinite period, until such time that democracy had been restored in Spain. The work finally returned to this country in 1981.

An accurate depiction of a cruel, dramatic situation, Guernica was created to be part of the Spanish Pavilion at the International Exposition in Paris in 1937. Pablo Picasso’s motivation for painting the scene in this great work was the news of the German aerial bombing of the Basque town whose name the piece bears, which the artist had seen in the dramatic photographs published in various periodicals, including the French newspaper L'Humanité. Despite that, neither the studies nor the finished picture contain a single allusion to a specific event, constituting instead a generic plea against the barbarity and terror of war. The huge picture is conceived as a giant poster, testimony to the horror that the Spanish Civil War was causing and a forewarning of what was to come in the Second World War. The muted colours, the intensity of each and every one of the motifs and the way they are articulated are all essential to the extreme tragedy of the scene, which would become the emblem for all the devastating tragedies of modern society.
Guernica has attracted a number of controversial interpretations, doubtless due in part to the deliberate use in the painting of only greyish tones. Analysing the iconography in the painting, one Guernica scholar, Anthony Blunt, divides the protagonists of the pyramidal composition into two groups, the first of which is made up of three animals; the bull, the wounded horse and the winged bird that can just be made out in the background on the left. The second group is made up of the human beings, consisting of a dead soldier and a number of women: the one on the upper right, holding a lamp and leaning through a window, the mother on the left, wailing as she holds her dead child, the one rushing in from the right and finally the one who is crying out to the heavens, her arms raised as a house burns down behind her.

At this point it should be remembered that two years earlier, in 1935, Picasso had done the etching Minotauromaquia, a synthetic work condensing into a single image all the symbols of his cycle dedicated to the mythological creature, which stands as Guernica’s most direct relative.

Incidents in Picasso’s private life and the political events afflicting Europe between the wars fused together in the motifs the painter was using at the time, resulting both in Guernica itself and all the studies and ‘postscripts’, regarded as among the most representative works of art of the 20th century.

Paloma Esteban Leal

Source: Oxford University Press
André Breton, the chief theorist and promoter of Surrealism, claimed Picasso as ‘one of ours’ in his article ‘Le Surréalisme et la peinture’, published in the fourth issue of Révolution surréaliste (1925); the Demoiselles was first reproduced in the same issue. At the first Surrealist group exhibition (Nov 1925) Picasso showed some of his Cubist works. He never yielded completely to the concept of ‘psychic automatism in its pure state’ as defined in the first Manifeste du surréalisme—poisson soluble (Paris, 1924), but the movement did lead him to a new imagery and formal vocabulary for emotional expression, releasing the violence, the psychic fears and the eroticism that had been largely contained or sublimated since 1909. This shift towards a more overt expressiveness was heralded by The Dance (1925; London, Tate). Although it emerged from studies related to the ballet and was dependent on Cubism for its conception of space, the fusion of ritual and abandon in the imagery recalls the primitivism of the Demoiselles and the elusive psychological resonances of his Symbolist work. Resurrecting the memory of Casagemas, it also prefigures Picasso’s ritually staged Crucifixion (1930; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 122). Numerous images of women with devouring maws coincide with the breakdown of Picasso’s marriage to Olga, while polymorphously eroticized figures can be associated with a new liaison with Marie-Thérèse Walter, whom he met in 1927, although she did not openly appear in his work until the 1930s. Images of sexual intercourse between schematic stick figures or inflated monsters, as in Figures by the Sea (12 Jan 1931; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 131), suggest violent or ambivalent emotions.

Surrealism not only rekindled Picasso’s fascination with the primitive and the erotic but also encouraged a conflation of his abiding interests in Classicism and the bullfight. The mythical hybrid monster known as the Minotaur, half-man and half-bull, became a favourite Surrealist image and the title of a Surrealist periodical, Minotaure, whose first cover Picasso designed in 1933 (original collage, New York, MOMA). Symbolizing both destructive and creative powers, the Minotaur served Picasso as a new artistic identity. The complex etching Minotauromachy (1935; Bloch, no. 288, I–V) provokes multiple narrative and symbolic associations, ultimately stressing private meanings and never yielding a definite reading. In another etching, Model and Surrealist Sculpture (1933; Bloch 187), Picasso wittily confronts the Classical with the fantastic, revealing his growing preoccupation with artistic practice and creativity. His treatment of the theme of the artist’s studio in late Cubist paintings such as Artist and Model (1928; New York, MOMA) and more naturalistic etchings culminated in 1933–4 in the classical idyll of The Sculptor’s Studio, a subsection of 46 of the 100 etchings gathered together in 1937 but offered for sale as the Vollard Suite only in 1950. In these works the artist is represented both as a contemplator and lover of his model/muse and as an active practitioner; and, in contrast to Picasso’s own experience, the making of art is depicted as a natural and unproblematic activity.

During these years less productive periods of painting alternated with outpourings of etchings and sculptures. In addition to the Vollard Suite, Picasso illustrated Balzac’s Le Chef d’oeuvre inconnu (Paris, 1931) for Vollard with etchings produced in 1927, Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Lausanne, 1931) for Skira and an English translation of Lysistrata (New York, 1934) for the Limited Editions Club. In spring 1926, having produced few sculptures or reliefs since 1915, he executed a group of assemblages, on the theme of guitars, out of cloth, nails and other materials, some protruding aggressively from the surface. Austere and disturbing, they were succeeded in summer 1930 by Surrealist-influenced bas-reliefs mounted on canvas and coated in sand, for example Construction with Bather and Profile (1930; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 125).
In 1921 Picasso had been approached to design a monument to Apollinaire. Finally in 1928, with the assistance of Julio González, a sculptor and trained metalworker, he realized some maquettes made of metal rods such as Figure (1928; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 264). This linear scaffolding became fleshed out with flattened metal shapes in Woman in the Garden (1929–30; Paris, Mus. Picasso), a homage to Marie-Thérèse as well as a proposal for the Apollinaire monument. Although the submissions for the monument were rejected as too radical, the renewed association with González, whom he had known since 1902, produced ten collaborative sculptures over four years in Picasso’s most fruitful artistic dialogue since the Cubist venture with Braque.
Unlike the frontal and opaque earlier Cubist constructions, these metal sculptures proposed an open three-dimensional structure that described and marked out a transparently conceived space. Although their radicality portended much for the future of 20th-century sculpture, Picasso returned to a more Classicizing conception of mass and volume in the large metamorphic bronze heads produced in 1931–2 at Boisgeloup, for which Marie-Thérèse served as the inspiration; in works such as Head of a Woman (1931–2; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 300) her features were sometimes recast into a fetishized hermaphroditic image. In autumn 1935, having produced no paintings since May, Picasso wrote some Surrealist automatic poetry; this new venture marked the end of a decade of innovation, response to younger artists, doubt, inner reliance and self-assessment.
The routine of Picasso’s private life at this time was also punctuated by periods of instability. He continued to spend the summer at seaside resorts, a habit he had established in the early 1920s. In 1933 and 1934 he took his family to Spain, visiting Barcelona (where he saw the Romanesque art in the Museu d’Art de Catalunya in 1934) as well as Madrid, the Escorial, Toledo and Saragossa. After considering and rejecting divorce, Picasso separated from Olga in June 1935. On 5 October Marie-Thérèse gave birth to a daughter, Maïa (María de la Concepción), named after Picasso’s sister. Although by now regarded as a major artist, he began to receive negative notices from those who perceived a decline in his more recent work. He exhibited widely, winning the Carnegie International prize in October 1930 and holding his first large retrospective at the Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, in June 1932. The proliferation of publications on his work included the monumental catalogue raisonné by Christian Zervos (first volume, 1932), followed one year later by the first volume of Bernard Geiser’s Picasso: Peintre-graveur. In July 1935, confronting fame and an apparent crisis in his work, Picasso invited his old friend Sabartés to join him as his secretary and business manager in November.
© 2009 Oxford University Press

5.WAR YEARS & LATER WORK, 1936 - 1973
Source: Oxford University Press
Events of the next years impelled Picasso towards more public meanings for his hitherto personal symbols. On 14 July 1936 he contributed to Popular Front festivities in France. An enlargement of a gouache, Composition with Minotaur (28 May 1936; Paris, Mus. Picasso), became the drop curtain for a performance of Romain Rolland’s play Le 14 juillet; although this belonged to a series of drawings on the Minotaur theme, the gestures and their context suggest a politicized imagery. After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War on 18 July 1936, the Republican government appointed Picasso director of the Museo del Prado. In January 1937 he etched The Dream and Lie of Franco I and II (Bloch, nos 297 and 298) and wrote an accompanying poem to be sold for the benefit of the Spanish Republic. The sequence of scenes depicts the General as a grotesque polyp reminiscent of Alfred Jarry’s Père Ubu.
In January 1937 the Spanish Republican government asked Picasso to paint a mural for the Spanish pavilion at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, due to open in June. After a few preliminary sketches relating to the theme of the artist’s studio, on 1 May Picasso set to work on a vast painting, Guernica (oil on canvas, 3.51×7.82 m; Madrid, Cent. Reina Sofía), finally spurred into action by the aerial bombing by the Falangists of the Basque town of Guernica five days earlier. He then worked intensively, producing more than 50 studies and making extensive revisions on the large canvas. dora Maar, a Surrealist artist and new companion whom he had met in 1936, photographed seven moments in the production of the final work. Guernica was installed in Paris in mid-June; redolent with political allusions, reportage and historical references, it has since attracted numerous efforts at decipherment. Although a rich mine for analysis, its success as painting or political statement has been obscured by the fact that history has turned it into an icon. Its motifs produced numerous progeny of a more personal nature, but responses to the worsening situation in Spain and preparations for war in the rest of Europe are less in evidence; one such work is Night Fishing at Antibes (Aug 1939; New York, MOMA), which adopts jarring formal devices in a ritualized image of killing and detached observation.
After the invasion of France by the Germans in 1940, Picasso lived in his Paris studio on the Rue des Grands-Augustins. Although watched by the German authorities, he was able to work and even to cast some sculpture in bronze. Skulls and death’s heads evoke the sombre mood, for example in Death’s Head (1943; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 326). Similar imagery featured in paintings such as Skull, Sea Urchins and Lamp on a Table (27 Nov 1946; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 198). Le Désir attrapé par la queue (Paris, 1945), a play written by him in January 1941, deals with the privations of the occupation through the language of poetic automatism. On 19 March 1944 it received a private reading at the home of Michel and Louise Leiris; the participants, in addition to the Leirises, included Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre and Dora Maar, and among the audience were the Braques, Brassaï, Jacques Lacan and Sabartés.
Shortly after the Liberation on 5 October 1944 L’Humanité announced that Picasso had joined the French Communist Party. The imagery of Massacre in Korea (1951; Paris, Mus. Picasso) and the War and Peace murals (oil on fibre board, each 4.7×10.2 m, 1952, installed 1954; Vallauris, Mus. N. Picasso) was designed to win party approval. Picasso attended international peace conferences in Warsaw (1948), Paris (1949) and Sheffield (1950), received the Lenin Peace Prize (Nov 1950) and designed posters and a portrait of Stalin at the party’s request. From August 1947 he made ceramics at the Madoura potteries in Vallauris, partly motivated, it would seem, by political concerns. In contrast to this humble medium, however, he also produced a considerable number of bronze sculptures in the early 1950s, including some of his best-known works in the medium such as She-goat (h. 1.21 m, 1950; Paris, Mus. Picasso, 340) and Baboon and Young (h. 533 mm, 1951; New York, MOMA).

Picasso’s emotional life during this period continued to be turbulent. In the late 1930s he had liaisons with both Marie-Thérèse Walter and Dora Maar, continuing his involvement with Maar even after meeting a young painter, Françoise Gilot (b 1921), in 1943. Gilot and Picasso began living together in 1946 and had two children, Claude (b 15 May 1947) and Paloma (b 19 April 1949). The years of Picasso’s most active involvement with the Communist Party coincided with this relationship, but Françoise left in 1953. By contrast with these unstable romantic entanglements, Picasso had a profound and durable friendship from early 1936 with Paul Eluard, a supporter of the left and a Communist Party member from 1942, which ended only with the poet’s death in 1952. Before and after World War II Picasso spent an increasing amount of time in the Mediterranean; with the purchase in the summer of 1948 of La Galloise, a villa near Vallauris, he settled more permanently in the south of France, although he retained residences and studios in Paris. His international reputation had expanded and popularized during these years, beginning in 1939 with the publication in Life magazine of photographs of him taken by Brassaï in Paris and with the exhibition Picasso: Forty Years of his Art at MOMA in New York. After the Liberation Picasso’s marketability in the media was confirmed by a film, Visite à Picasso (1948), directed by the art critic Paul Haesaerts. Picasso was granted a retrospective at the first Salon d’Automne held after the Liberation, his first Salon showing in France. In 1946 he decorated the museum in Antibes, which was then renamed in his honour. International retrospectives took place in 1953 in Rome, Milan and São Paulo. Despite his political affiliations during the Cold War period, Picasso enjoyed prosperity and worldly success.

During his final decades Picasso became more obsessed with history than with the present: with earlier art as subject-matter, with his own development and with his place in art history. A watercolour and gouache after Poussin’s Bacchanale (Aug 1944; untraced) heralded numerous paraphrases and variations. Delacroix’s two versions of the Women of Algiers (e.g. 1833; Paris, Louvre) prompted 15 paintings and 2 lithographs between December 1954 and February 1955 (e.g. 3 versions in New York, Mrs Victor W. Ganz priv. col., see Late Picasso, 1988 exh. cat., pp. 153–5). This was followed by another sequence, The Maids of Honour (Las meninas), after Velázquez (1957; Barcelona, Mus. Picasso), and series based on Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’herbe (1959–61; e.g. 10 July 1961; Stuttgart, Staatsgal.; and 30 July 1961; Humlebæk, Louisiana Mus.) and on works by Lucas Cranach, Rembrandt, Murillo and Courbet. The final series, Rape of the Sabines (e.g. 4 and 8 Nov 1962; Paris, Pompidou), conflated references to Poussin and David and alluded to current international tensions; taken as a group, this was his last major political statement. In such works Picasso was not simply borrowing motifs to make up for a diminished imagination. Rather, he pitted himself in competition with his chosen references, breaking them down, recomposing them and becoming ever bolder in his marriages of imagery and style across history.
The Old Master took a place as a character in Picasso’s late images, in which series of works interrelate in a vestigial private narrative. Mingling with acrobats, strolling players, commedia dell’arte figures and memories from Picasso’s youth, he represents one of the many possible guises of the artist, who may also be a child genius or an impotent old man. In works such as 25.5.68 I (aquatint) his 17th-century garb recollects Velázquez or Rembrandt (Picasso referred to this character as a musketeer), and occasionally he appears as a specific historical personage; in the etchings published as Suite 347 (1968; Bloch 1481–1827) Raphael lives out an erotic fantasy with his mistress, La Fornarina, as imagined by Picasso through Ingres. Much of Picasso’s late work equates art with the erotic, painting with sexual potency, spectating with voyeurism. The obsessive production of such images seems to rebel against the inevitable cessation of work, while some late portraits with staring and gaunt features like death’s heads starkly contrast with the erotic fantasies. At the end of his life Picasso again became obsessively preoccupied with Eros and Thanatos, sexual love and death, which had been constant themes in the paintings of his youth.
Picasso’s life was more settled in his last two decades. He met Jacqueline Roque in 1953, and she became his companion that autumn. In 1955 he purchased a new villa, La Californie, at Cannes; its studio provided the motif for some of his most spacious, light-filled paintings, such as The Studio in a Painted Frame (2 April 1956; New York, MOMA). Seeking a quieter working place, in 1958 he bought the Château de Vauvenargues, near Aix-en-Provence. The death of Olga on 11 February 1955 left him free of matrimonial ties, and on 2 March 1961 he married Jacqueline. Numerous tributes marked each year. Another film, Georges Cluzot’s Le Mystère Picasso (1955), focused on his working methods. An enormous retrospective was staged at the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais in Paris, but he rejected some of the establishment’s laurels, refusing the Légion d’honneur in 1967. In his late compulsive productivity, interrupted only by an operation in 1965, he sought to redefine art historical traditions while resisting the historical fixing of his own work. He died intestate at the age of 91.
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