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Pablo Picasso

Pablo PicassoLIFE


In the summer of 1906 during Picasso’s stay in Gosol-Spain his work entered a new phase, marked by the influence of Greek, Iberian and African art in the end of 1904. Fernande Oliver became his mistress and her presence inspired him during the years leading him up to Cubism. Especially on the summer trip to Gosol ("Woman with Loaves"), the sculpture ‘Buste de fomme au bouquet" (Fernande) (1909) and several paintings related to it (Femme aux poires) (Fernande) 1909).

He began to work on a large composition that called ‘Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon was so radical in style – its picture surface resembling fractured glass that it was not understood by contemporary painters and critics. The ideal form of the female body and mask like painting of the faces (influenced by African Art) had made this work controversial. Yet the work was firmly based upon art-historical tradition.Pablo Picasso

Picasso and the French artist Georges Braque painted landscapes in 1908 in a style later described by a critic as being made of ‘little cubes’ thus leading cubism. Some of their paintings are so similar that it is difficult to tell them apart. Both of they worked to-gether during 1902-12. Which is the only time Picasso ever worked with another painter in this way. Together they developed the first phase of cubism known as Analytic Cubism. Early Cubist paintings were often misunderstood by critics and viewers because they were thought to be merely geometric art.

Yet the painters themselves believed that they were presenting a new kind of art that broke away from Renaissance tradition, especially from the use of perspective and illusion. They showed multiple views of an object on the same canvas to convey more information than could be contained in a single, limited illusionistic view.

In 1912 Picasso and Braque were gluing real paper and other materials into their canvases, taking a stage further the cubist conception of a work as a self-contained constructed object-pasting paper and a piece of oilcloth to the canvas and combining these with painted areas, Picasso created his first college ‘Nature morte a la chaise cannee’ in 1912. This technique marked a transition to Synthetic Cubism (1912-14). The Synthetic phase of cubism is more decorative, color played a major role although shapes remain fragmented and flat and the actual materials often had an industrial reference (sand or printed wall-paper)

Picasso practiced synthetic cubism throughout his career but not exclusively. Two important works of 1915 demonstrate his simultaneous work in different styles : Arlequin is a synthetic cubist painting, whereas a drawing of his dealer, Vollard is executed in his Ingresque style, so called because of its draftsmanship emulating that of the 19th century French neoclassical artist Jean – August – Dominique Ingres.

Cubist Sculpture

Picasso created cubist sculptures as well as paintings. The bronze bust ‘Tele de femme’ (1909) (Museum of Modern Art) shows his perfect skill in handling three-dimensional form. He constructed ‘Mandoline’ (1914) from odds and ends of wood, metal, paper and non-artistic materials in which he explored the spatial hypotheses of cubist painting. His sculpture ‘La verre d’absinthe’ (1914) combining a silver sugar strainer with a painted bronze sculpture anticipates his much later, "found object" creations such as ‘Baboon and Young’ (1951) as well as pop art objects of the 1960s.

His reputation as a major sculptor of 20th century came only after his death because he had kept much of his sculpture in his own collection. In Julio Gonzalez’s studio in Paris in 1928 he began to work in iron and sheet metal. In 1931 he left his wife Olga and moved with his new mistress Marie Therese Walter to a country home at Boisgelop where he had room for sculpture studios and he began to work with Marie Therese as his muse on large scale plaster heads end until the and of his life Picasso continued working in sculpture in a variety of materials.


Picasso never completely disassociated himself from the women who had shared his life once a new lover occupied his attention. His work is the evidence. One mistress often turned into another. He expressed for all time his completely divided vision of woman who was in his mind or life. For example, "Two Sisters" the painting of a whore and nun. He spent his time sleeping, watching with Dona Maria and was painting whores. Two of the smaller nude drawings he would keep for his private collection. On one of them he had written "Cuando tongas ganas de joder, jode". In his struggle to define himself a man just seemed the most appropriate emotion toward women.

In August 1904 in Paris while going to his studio he met Fernande a beautiful woman. He took her to see his studio. He thought that it was not just another encounter but in fact the beginning of his first real relationship. First time in his life he committed himself for a woman – "not till death do us part" – but at least until the attachment stopping being passionate, inspiring or convenient. Fernande Olivier was a artist. She painted and drew but preferred to expand her creativity in inventing a life. She entered in Picasso’s world and became his first official mistress. He loved the way she looked, the way she dressed.

Fernande was four months elder to him. Picasso had a fear and anxiety prompted by the challenge and the expectation of a real relationship. His fears persisted in his painting "Woman Sleeping’. He painted himself sitting by the bed, lost in anxious thoughts and imaginings. In his daily life Picasso was very much anxious that she must be with him all the time. He didn’t care if she cooked or not, cleaned the house or not. He positively prohibited her to do the shopping. He forced her to live like a recluse. Her youthful idleness and uncontrolled sensuality were the cornerstone of their relationship. Her healthy optimism was a remedy to his depressions. Picasso who visited whorehouses regularly in search of women and thought only for himself became a man for whom Fernande. Rose became the dominant color in his work.

In 1911 he fell in love with Marcelle Humbert who lived with Marcoussis for the past three years. His waning attachment to Fernande was replaced by Marcelle. When the distance between Fernande and Picasso became too much for her to bear, she left Picasso and surrendered to Ubaldo Oppi – a young Italian painter. Within twenty-four hours of Fernande’s leaving him he drove Marcelle away from Marcoussis. She moved to him and he renamed her Eva. In 1915 she was suffering from tuberculosis and had a fear that if Picasso knew it he would leave her. Eva was hospitalized and his affair began with Gaby Lespinasse a twenty seven year old Parisian who was his neighbor. On December 1915 Eva died.

Jane Cocteau a young poet decided to bring Picasso into Sorgei Diaghilev’s circle. He also decided for Picasso to design the costumes and stage sets for a ballet "Parade.’ Picasso involved himself in this new project.

In February 1917 they left for Rome. He met Olga Kokloua a 26 year old ballet dancer and a daughter of a Russian army officer. On July 12, 1918 he married Olga at the Mairie and then a religious ceremony at the Russian Orthodox Church in the Rue Daru. She was a simple and good looking. Years later he said that he selected Olga because she was pretty and belonged to the Russian nobility. In Corunna, as a boy he had been rejected by the family of his first love, named Angeles because his social status was not sufficiently dignified. A quarter of a century later he would settle that score. Whether or not Olga was the right partner for life, but she was unquestionably right partner for the social life. The great revolutionary of twentieth century art fell back in his life on the stale hope of marrying into the aristocracy.

Olga gave a birth to son on February, 1921 who was named Paulo, the only legitimate son of Pablo Picasso. The pride and the delight of being a father inspired him to sketch the series of Paulo’s first months. Sometimes as if aware of the dramatic changes brought during a child’s first year, he recorded that date and the time also at which the drawings were done. In the Spring of 1925 ‘Three Dancers’ was born. It was the beginning of a savage decomposition of the human body and the evocation of the Crucifixion compounded the sense of boom and destruction that pervaded the picture. In realist style Picasso made several portraits of Olga. He continued working in realist style with portrait of his son and of numerous friends. He created strange pictures of small headed bathers and violent convulsive portraits of women which are often indicative to the tension in his marriage life.

On January 1927 he met Marie Therese, a beautiful young girl of seventeen. She knew nothing of art and Picasso. In 1934 Picasso poured out his confusion and extreme pain in the four powerful moving etchings of ‘The Blind Minotaur’. The Minotaur, a symbol for himself, is being tenderly guided by a beautiful girl clutching a dove. There is an air of hopeless tragedy about the blinded beast, so strong but, so vulnerable he struggle to find his way along the seashore. The girl looks like Marie several paintings of the early 1930s expressed on underlying eroticism reflected his newest love Marie Theresa Walter. Marie frequently portrayed sleeping – also was the model for the famous ‘Jeune fille devant un miroir (1932). She became the subject of his often lyrical, sometimes erotic, paintings in which he combined intense color with flowing forms. In 1935 Marie gave birth to a girl. Olga his wife left him with her son.

At almost exactly the same time that his daughter was born, Picasso introduced Dora Maer, a Yugoslave photographer and painter and also an intellectual of Surrealist movement. She could speak fluent Spanish and was intellectual.

War was in his pictures – not any particular war but the darkness, the anger and the hatred that cause war. In June II World War, the German army marched into Royan where he stayed and moved from Paris because Germans threatened Paris and to stay there it was to court danger. He painted one of his most brutal and vengeful images of womanhood : Dora (his mistress) as the ‘Nude Dressing Her Hair.’ The brutality was no less present in his life. He often beat Dora and many times he left her lying unconscious on the floor. The transformation of the princess into a frog and of sensuality into horror, and in the dog face portraits he painted of Dora. He completed the transformation : of woman into slavish animal. More than two third of his work during 1939 to 1940 consisted of deformed women, their faces and bodies flied with fury. His hatred of a specific woman seemed to have become a deep and universal hatred for all women.

In may 1943 he met Françoise Gilot-daughter of a successful businessman while dinning at Catalan, she had been drawing ever since she was a child. He invited her to see his studio to see some of his paintings. Dora knew the existence of Françoise but she could not believe that she would ever be supplanted by ‘a school girl’. She started living with Picasso in July, 1946. She was a mother of his two children – a son Claude and a daughter Ann Paloma. In 1953 Francoise left Picasso and married a young painter. Francoise’s decision to abandon Picasso as death drew closer was a symbol of life leaving him of death displacing the vitality that had always been his hallmark. He suffered alone and after November 28th, the month of his seventy-two birthday he stopped talking and started working. He worked feverishly and in just over two months he produced 180 drawings. The poet Michael Leiris called the series a "visual diary of a hateful season in hell, a crisis in his personal life leading him to question everything. In these confessional drawings he was trying to capture through his art the vitality that eludes him in life.

In 1954, Picasso met Jacqueline Rogue who worked in al pottery shop at Vallauris. He painted ‘Jacqueline in a Rocking chair’. He had shown her not as she was but as she would soon become. He married her in 1961. She was now Madam Picasso. Marriage transformed her from victim to victor.

On October 15, 1986 Jacqueline called Aurelio Torronte, the director of the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid, to discuss the final details of the exhibition of her personal selection of Picasso’s paintings that was to open in Madrid ten days later. She promised him that she would be there for the opening. At three o’clock in the morning she shot herself. She was buried in the Castle at Vauvenargues, where Picasso was also buried. This castle was purchased by Picasso in 1958.

Marie Therese hanged herself on October 20, 1977, in the year of the fiftieth anniversary of her meeting to Picasso. She was sixty-eight years old. She wrote to her daughter Maya, "You have to know what his (Picasso’s) life had meant to her". Maya told later that their relationship was crazy. She felt she had to look after him even when he died. She couldn’t bare the thought of him alone.
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