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Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973

Regarding the canon of art history, no other artist has exerted such influence as Pablo Picasso. Frequently dubbed the “dean of modernism,” the Spanish artist was revolutionary in the way he challenged the conventions of painting. His stylistic pluralism, legendary reconfiguration of pictorial space and inexhaustible creative force have made Picasso one of the most revered artists of the 20th century.

Influenced by symbolism and Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso developed his own independent style in Paris during his renowned Blue Period (1900-1904): motifs from everyday life that were marked by poverty, age and loneliness, predominantly painted in shades of blue. Followed up by his Rose Period (1905-1907), these lyrical works marked the return of joy and happiness, expressed in the form of French circus members. In 1906, the influence of African sculpture materialized in his works in the shape of geometrical nudes and landscapes that led to the creation of his key work, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907. Viewed by many critics as the “transitional piece” to Cubism, this painting broke new ground with its multiple viewpoints, fractured figures and exposed canvas. After 1912, Picasso’s increasingly abstract works led to his works in collage in which he continued to defy convention. By 1920, Picasso had developed a neo-classical style and by 1925 he began to move toward Surrealism, extending his cubist deformations by literary association and an increased force of expression.

After World War II, Picasso carried out more technical experiments, which fueled the production of an impressive body of graphic art. Though printmaking required the assistance of skilled technicians and dedicated publishers, it ultimately remained the personal vision of the artist that lead to historically compelling prints. Furthermore, Picasso’s fascination with print processes led to works that are now considered iconic, such as the Vollard Suite, a series of etchings created in 1939.


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