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Pablo Picasso biography

Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973)

"Yet Cubism and Modern art weren't either scientific or intellectual; they were visual and
came from the eye and mind of one of the greatest geniuses in art history. Pablo Picasso,
born in Spain, was a child prodigy who was recognized as such by his art-teacher father,
who ably led him along. The small Museo de Picasso in Barcelona is devoted primarily to
his early works, which include strikingly realistic renderings of casts of ancient sculpture.

"He was a rebel from the start and, as a teenager, began to frequent the Barcelona cafes
where intellectuals gathered. He soon went to Paris, the capital of art, and soaked up the
works of Manet, Gustave Courbet, and Toulouse-Lautrec, whose sketchy style impressed
him greatly. Then it was back to Spain, a return to France, and again back to Spain - all in
the years 1899 to 1904.

"Before he struck upon Cubism, Picasso went through a prodigious number of styles -
realism, caricature, the Blue Period, and the Rose Period. The Blue Period dates from
1901 to 1904 and is characterized by a predominantly blue palette and subjects focusing
on outcasts, beggars, and prostitutes. This was when he also produced his first sculptures.
The most poignant work of the style is in Cleveland's Museum of Art, La Vie (1903),
which was created in memory of a great childhood friend, the Spanish poet Casagemas,
who had committed suicide. The painting started as a self-portrait, but Picasso's features
became those of his lost friend. The composition is stilted, the space compressed, the
gestures stiff, and the tones predominantly blue. Another outstanding Blue Period work,
of 1903, is in the Metropolitan, The Blind Man's Meal. Yet another example, perhaps the
most lyrical and mysterious ever, is in the Toledo Museum of Art, the haunting Woman
with a Crow (1903).

"The Rose Period began around 1904 when Picasso's palette brightened, the paintings
dominated by pinks and beiges, light blues, and roses. His subjects are saltimbanques
(circus people), harlequins, and clowns, all of whom seem to be mute and strangely
inactive. One of the premier works of this period is in Washington, D.C., the National
Gallery's large and extremely beautiful Family of Saltimbanques dating to 1905, which
portrays a group of circus workers who appear alienated and incapable of communicating
with each other, set in a one-dimensional space.

"In 1905, Picasso went briefly to Holland, and on his return to Paris, his works took on a
classical aura with large male and fernale figures seen frontally or in distinct profile,
almost like early Greek art. One of the best of these of 1906 is in the Albright-Knox
Gallery in Buffalo, NY, La Toilette. Several pieces in this new style were purchased by
Gertrude (the art patron and writer) and her brother, Leo Stein.

Picasso enjoyed creating his art on many media. From paintings to etchings to ceramics,
all of his works are a testament to his skills. There are even Picasso prints that are worth
more than unique original works.