Spanish, 1881-1973

Pablo Picasso

'At the time of Pablo Picasso’s birth, his father, an academic painter, taught art at the Escuela de Artes y Oficios in Málaga and was also an art restorer at the local museum. In 1891, the family was in La Coruña, where his father taught at the college, and Pablo took lessons at the Da Guarda Art School. Encouraging his son’s precocious talent, Picasso’s father passed on his academic knowledge, and at about the age of 12, Pablo painted his first canvases, which he signed ‘PabloRuiz’. In 1895, when Picasso was 14 years old, the family moved to Barcelona, and he entered the Escuela de Bellas Artes de la Lonja. During the winter of 1897–1898, he attended the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. Back in Barcelona in 1899, he was a regular at Els Quatre Gats, a café popular with intellectual and artistic youth, including two future close friends, the painter Carles Casagemas (1880–1901) and the poet Jaime Sabartés.

On his first trip to Paris in 1900, where he caught up with his friend, the painter Isidro Nonell, Picasso barely associated with anyone outside the Spanish community. Nonetheless, Berthe Weill bought one of his paintings, and in 1901, Ambroise Vollard held an exhibition of his racecourse and bar scenes. From then on, he signed his works with his mother’s surname, Picasso. At the end of 1901, he returned to Spain, only to go back to Paris at the end of 1902. He left for Spain at the beginning of 1903 and remained there for a year. When he then returned to Paris, he set himself up in one of the studios in the wooden house at number 13 in the old Rue Ravignon, nicknamed the ‘Maison du Trappeur’ (Trapper’s House) and later renamed the ‘Bateau-Lavoir’ (Washhouse) by Guillaume Apollinaire. For several years he lived there with Fernande Olivier, who often modelled for him and who also began to paint. At that time Montmartre was the hub of the arts and attracted people from all over the world. It was there that Picasso met Max Jacob and later Kees van Dongen, André Salmon, and Apollinaire, as well as Henri Matisse in 1906 and André Derain and Georges Braque in 1907. In Picasso’s studio, he and his friends mischievously but affectionately organised a banquet in honour of the Le Douanier (Henri Rousseau) in 1908. After Picasso sold his first works to the Russian art collector Sergei Shchukin in 1908–1909, he could put the years of great material difficulty behind him. His so-called Blue, Rose, and Negro (or ‘African’) periods ended with the development of Analytical Cubism, which was to preoccupy him from 1910 until war broke out in 1914. He stayed in Cadaqués with Derain and in Céret with Braque in 1910, with Juan Gris in 1911, and in Sorgues (Vaucluse) with Braque in 1912. The young art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler secured exclusive rights to Picasso’s works in 1912. After 1912, Picasso and everyone who painted or wrote in Montmartre migrated to Montparnasse. With the outbreak of World War I, however, the community disintegrated.

When the war started in 1914, Picasso was in Avignon. He travelled to Italy in 1917 and associated with Jean Cocteau, Serge Diaghilev, Léonide Massine, Igor Stravinsky, and Erik Satie in Rome. Standing in for the absent poet-turned-soldier Apollinaire, Diaghilev, director of the Ballets Russes, commissioned sets and costumes from Picasso for the ballet Parade written by Cocteau and with music by Satie. The performance of the ballet in Paris caused quite a stir. In 1917, Ivan Aksionov’s book on Picasso was published in Moscow. Picasso fell in love with the dancer Olga Kokhlova, whom he married in 1918. They had a son, Paulo, in 1921. The marriage broke up in 1934 but they never divorced. From 1919 to 1924, he created more sets, costumes, and curtains for productions of Manuel de Falla’s The Three-cornered Hat (El Sombrero de Tres Picos) and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella by the Ballets Russes. The period from 1928 to 1929 when he was living in Dinard became known as the ‘Dinard’ period. In 1933 and 1934, he paid two lengthy visits to Spain, after which the Minotaur theme started to develop. At the beginning of the 1930s, his personal life inspired a large number of portraits of his mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter, who gave birth to a daughter in 1935. Following the outbreak of the Civil War in Spain in 1936, the subsequent nationalist victory, and the Franco era, Picasso never again returned to Spain. During this period dominated by the creation of Guernica, he lived with Dora Maar in Paris. He was living in Royan in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II and afterwards spent the years from 1940 to 1944, the entire period of German occupation, in Paris. His 1945 play Desire Caught by the Tail (Le Désir attrapé par la queue) describes some of the hardships of this period.

After the war, Picasso settled in the south of France. Unless they appeared in his work, the names of his companions are unimportant, apart from Françoise Gilot, by whom he had two children, Claude and Paloma. For several months in 1946, he worked in the rooms of the Château Grimaldi, which was later to become the first Musée Picasso. For several years after 1948, he was mainly active in Vallauris where, through his own work and dynamic presence, he rejuvenated the local ceramic craft industry. In 1953, he separated from Françoise Gilot, and, in 1955, moved to Cannes, where he lived in the villa La Californie and bought the Château de Vauvenargues in 1958. His wife Olga Kokhlova had died in 1955, and he married again in 1958. His new wife was Jacqueline Roque, whom he had met in 1954. The couple settled in Mas Notre-Dames-de-Vie in Mougins in 1961. He spent his remaining years in Mougins, painting several canvases a day until his death in 1973 at the age of 92.' 
(Benezit, Dictionary of Artists, Gründ, 2006)

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Pablo Picasso Works Previously Sold

PABLO PICASSO  La Fille de l'Artiste   Pencil on graph paper 13¾ x 8½ inches (35 x 21.5 cm)

La Fille de l'Artiste

Pencil on graph paper
13¾ x 8½ inches (35 x 21.5 cm)