Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pablo Picasso: Making Waves


We all know that art is not the truth, art is a lie that makes us realize the truth
Pablo Picasso
When we discovered Cubism, we did not have the aim of discovering Cubism. We only wanted to express what was in us.
Pablo Picasso
People want to find a "meaning" in everything and everyone. That's the disease of our age, an age that is anything but practical but believes itself to be more practical than any other age
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso [October 25, 1881-April 8, 1973]: A photo from January 1962 when Picasso was 80. Picasso died at age 91, and his final words were: "Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink any more." Photo Credit: Argentina. Revista Vea y Lea
Source: http://www.magicasruinas.com.ar/revistero/internacional/pintura-pablo-picasso.htm

Pablo Picasso is famous for co-founding, along with George Braque, a new art form called Cubism with his painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, in 1907. A monumental work, both in size ( (243.9 x 233.7 cm) and effect, its distorted figures and non-representational setting made a break with the traditional way art had been practiced by the masters since the Renaissance.

Such briefly and pithily describes Picasso, a breaker of taboos and established conventions, unafraid to offend and take risks. Much of Picasso's storied history can be found here. The essential details are that he was born in Málaga, Spain, on October 25, 1881, and painted since age thirteen, for about eighty years, until his death in Mougins, France, on April 8, 1973, age 91.

He produced about 50,000 works of art in various media in the various periods that he painted: Rose, Blue and Cubism among them. He broke conventions and established new conventions, new forms.

As for  Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, the Museuem of Modern Art, or MOMA, in New York City holds the painting, which it purchased in the late 1930s. Its significance to the art world and the public in general is described by MOMA:
Its monumental size underscored the shocking incoherence resulting from the outright sabotage of conventional representation. Picasso drew on sources as diverse as Iberian sculpture, African tribal masks, and El Greco's painting to make this startling composition.
Now, Picasso like all artists and creative persons of renown, had his critics, notably other painters like Matisse and Derain. They were, to put it mildly, not impressed with the daring rule-breaker's work:
With Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso offends the Paris art scene in 1907. Showing his eight-foot-square canvas to a group of painters, patrons, and art critics at his studio, Picasso meets with almost unanimous shock, distaste, and outrage. The painter Matisse is angered by the work, which he considers a hoax, an attempt to paint the fourth dimension. "It was the ugliness of the faces that froze with horror the half-converted," the critic Salmon writes later. The painter Derain comments wryly, "One day we shall find Pablo has hanged himself behind his great canvas."
Well, Picasso didn't. More than one hundred yeas later, not everyone fancies his work. But you must agree that his contribution to both Art and Humanity is significant and historic. Picasso didn't hang himself. He was a prolific painter who produced thousands of paintings.His most famous work is arguably Guernica (1937), his portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

One of his most famous painting is Guernica, Picasso's artistic response to the Italian and German terror bombing of that city during the Spanish Civil War on April 26, 1937. The painting became a powerful symbol of the struggle for freedom, first for the Basque People of Spain, and equally important as an universal symbol of peace.

Guernica (1937):  Oil on canvas. 349 cm × 776 cm.
Source: PICASSO, la exposición del Reina-Prado. Guernica is in the collection of  the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Spain. 
Fair Use Rationale: Guernica is painted in surrealist style and is arguably Pablo Picasso's most famous work, as such this image of Guernica is used for purposes of identification and commentary in a section of the article concerning Pablo Picasso's period where classicism and surrealism dominated his work. Any discussion of Pablo Picasso would not be complete without referring to this work.
Picasso himself never explained the painting, leaving interpretation to others:
The painting became a timely and prophetic vision of the Second World War and is now recognised as an international icon for peace.
Despite the enormous interest the painting generated in his lifetime, Picasso obstinately refused to explain Guernica's imagery. Guernica has been the subject of more books than any other work in modern art and it is often described as..."the most important work of art of the twentieth century", yet its meanings have to this day eluded some of the most renowned scholars.
Picasso is equally famous for his pursuit and  love of women. He was married twice and had four children by three women. He has many affirs and many mistresses in his lifetime. In the summer of 1918, Picasso married Olga Khokhlova, a ballerina with Sergei Diaghilev’s troupe.They had a son, Paulo.

In 1927, while still married to his first wife, Olga Khokhova, Picasso and Marie-Thérèse Walter had a long-standing affair, and had a daughter, Maia. In 1944, after the liberation of Paris, Picasso started a new relationship with a young art student, named Françoise Gilot (born 1921) who was 40 years younger than him. They began to live together and had two children: Claude born in 1947 and Paloma born in 1949.  That relationship ended.

His second wife was Jacqueline Roque (1927–1986) who worked at the Madoura Pottery in Vallauris on the French Riviera, where Picasso made and painted ceramics. they married in 1961, and remained together for the remainder of Picasso’s life.

As is common with all artists, Picasso marveled at what was around him, including having good things to say about children:
Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.
Good words indeed. We can now enjoy many of Picasso's works held in many museums in the world. He was both prolific and his own man. Pablo Picasso died on 8 April 1973 in Mougins, France, while he and his wife Jacqueline entertained friends for dinner.  He is buried at the Chateau of Vauvenargues near Aix-en-Provence. Picasso was 91.