ART 4 2-DAY 25 October v.9.b0
Born on 25 October (06 Sep?) 1825: Giovanni
Fattori, Italian Realist
painter etcher who died on 30 August 1908 (1905?).
— Initially established as a painter of military subjects, he came to be one of the leading Italian plein-air painters of landscape with figures. Towards the end of his life he produced many excellent etchings, mainly of rural subjects.
Nella fama che da morto lo avvolge e già lo solleva alla gloria, sembra che della vita di lui non si sappia altro che la sua onorata povertà. Ma di quanto nella biografia di questo artista può aiutarci a spiegare l’arte sua e le successive maniere, pochi si occupano. Sono stati, fra gli altri, dimenticati due fatti capitali. Il primo è che Giovanni Fattori non ha mai creduto d’essere un puro paesista, un pittore cioè di vuoti paesaggi, ma sì un pittore di figura il quale adoperava i mille studi e studietti di paese, adesso fortuna dei mercanti e invidia dei raccoglitori, soltanto per comporre gli sfondi convenienti ai suoi quadri di butteri, di bifolchi, di boscaiole, di buoi, di puledri, di soldati, d’accampamenti, di manovre, di battaglie. Il secondo fatto è che Giovanni Fattori fino ai trentacinque o trentasei anni ha dipinto poco e fiacco, e i più dei quadri, quadretti, bozzetti e appunti che oggi si espongono, si lodano, si comprano e si ricomprano, sono tutti dipinti verso i quarant’anni e dopo, dal 1861 o ’65. Il caso è più unico che raro nella storia dell’arte, ma ci aiuta a capire quel che di meditato, riposato e maturo è nelle sue opere migliori, anche nelle più antiche, ingenuamente credute giovanili e primaverili.
— Plinio Nomellini was a student of Fattori.
Maria Stuarda a Crookstone
Soldati francesi del '59
Ritratto della cugina Argia
Carica di cavalleria a Montebello
— Ritorno della cavalleria (1028x600pix, 127kb)
Silvestro Lega che dipinge sugli scogli
Diego Martelli a Castiglioncello
Ritratto della figliastra
Giornata grigia [in English: Grade~A?]
Died on 25 October 1916: William
Merritt Chase, US painter, printmaker, and teacher born
on 01 November 1849. He helped establish the fresh color and bravura technique
of much early 20th-century US painting.
— Chase studied at the National Academy of Design in New York City and under Karl von Piloty for six years in Munich. He worked fora time in the grays and browns of the Munich school, but in the 1880s he took up a lighter palette, which was then popular in Paris. An extremely effective teacher, Chase taught many pupils, first at the Art Students League of New York and then at his own school in New York City. He is best known for his portraits and figure studies, his still lifes of dead fish, and his studio interiors, e.g., In the Studio (1883). His mature style is notable for its bold and spontaneous brushwork and other marks of virtuosity.
— Chase received his early training in Indianapolis from the portrait painter Barton S. Hays [1826–1875]. In 1869 he went to New York to study at the National Academy of Design where he exhibited in 1871. That year he joined his family in St. Louis, where John Mulvaney [1844–1906] encouraged him to study in Munich. With the support of several local patrons, enabling him to live abroad for the next six years, Chase entered the Königliche Akademie in Munich in 1872. Among his teachers were Alexander von Wagner [[1838–1919], Karl Theodor von Piloty and Wilhelm von Diez [1839–1907]. Chase also admired the work of Wilhelm Leibl. The school emphasized bravura brushwork, a technique that became integral to Chase’s style, favored a dark palette and encouraged the study of Old Master painters, particularly Diego Velázquez [06 Jun 1599 – 06 Aug 1660] and Frans Hals [1583 – 01 Sep 1666]. Among Chase’s friends in Munich were the US artists Walter Shirlaw [06 Aug 1838 – 26 Dec 1909], J. Frank Currier [21 Nov 1843 – 15 Jan 1909], and Frederick Dielman [1847–1935], as well as Frank Duveneck [09 Oct 1848 – 03 Jan 1919] and John H. Twachtman [04 Aug 1853 – 08 Aug 1902], who accompanied him on a nine-month visit to Venice in 1877.
— Chase's students included George Wesley Bellows [12 Aug 1882 – 08 Jan 1925], Georgia O'Keeffe [15 Nov 1887 – 06 Mar 1986], Rockwell Kent [21 Jun 1882 – 13 Mar 1971], Charles Rettew Sheeler, Dennis Miller Bunker [06 Nov 1861 – 28 Dec 1890], Lydia Field Emmet, Elizabeth Adela Armstrong Forbes [1859-1912], Edmund Greacen, Lilian Westcott Hale, Robert Onderdonk, Lawton Parker, Ethel Paxson, Irving Wiles, David Ericson, Blanche Lazzell, Louis Ritman, Leopold Seyffert, Frederic Grant, Charles Wrenn, Patrick Henry Bruce, Charles Henry Buckius Demuth, Edwin Walter Dickinson, Arthur Burdett Frost [1851-1928], Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper, Li Tiefu, Walter Pach, Guy Pène du Bois, Morton Livingston Schamberg.
— Self Portrait (1915, 133x161cm; 824x1000pix, 187kb) in the studio, next to a large canvas (roughly 150x180cm) in progress.
— Louis Betts (51x41cm; _ ZOOMable)
–- Harriet Hubbard Ayer (1880, 69x56cm; 864x708pix, 83kb _ .ZOOM to 1727x1416pix, 272kb) the painting of the hair looks somewhat unfinished.
–- A Young Woman (76x64cm; 980x807pix, 38kb _ .ZOOM to 1470x1210pix, 85kb _ .ZOOM+ to 2205x1816pix, 205kb)
–- Near the Beach, Shinnecock (1895, 25x35cm; xpix, kb)
–- A Corner of My Studio (1895; 61x91cm; 824x1240, 87kb _ .ZOOM to 1664x2480pix, 738kb)
–- Well I Should Not Murmur, For God Judges Best (Mrs. David Hester Chase, the Artist's Mother, in 1878) (1890, 31x20cm, 1177x740pix, 62kb )
— The Mandolin Player (1879, 41x32cm; 1000x671pix, 232kb) _ This has inspired the pseudonymous Mailly W. Demeritt Pursuit to show the very rare angled double mandolin played by a virtual (but not necessarily virtuous) performer who carries much weight in the music world (and anywhere else she might manage to go), in the picture Do Man Limp Layer (2005; 920x1300pix, 202kb). Pursuit's model seems to be a descendent of Chase's, but having a serious bulimia problem. The angled double mandolin is also featured in the very colorful Dough Man Limb Lawyer (2005; 920x1300pix, 354kb) by the also pseudonymous (probably the very same under a different name) Irala Alleluyev.
— The Patrician (1875, 55x46cm; 1088x900pix; 780kb)
— 237 images at Art Renewal
Died on 25 October 1801: Richard Parkes
Bonington, English Romantic
painter specialized in coastal landscapes,
who died on 23 September 1828.
Bonington was born near Nottingham, England. In about 1817, his family moved to Calais, France. In 1818, Bonington went to Paris, where he met Eugène Delacroix and made watercolor copies of Dutch and Flemish landscapes in the Louvre. In 1821-1822, he studied under Antoine-Jean Gros at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. His first works, mostly sketches of Le Havre and Lillebonne, were exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1822. He also began to work in lithography, illustrating Baron Taylor’s Voyages. In 1824, he won a gold medal at the Paris Salon. He traveled all over France and especially in Normandy, painting coastal landscapes and seaport scenes Coast of Picardy (1824), French River Scene with Fishing Boats (1824), A Boat Beached in a Port at Low Tide (1825); he also went to England and Scotland, occasionally accompanied by his friend Eugène Delacroix, in whose studio he later worked. In 1826, Bonington visited Venice, where he was deeply impressed by Veronese and Canaletto: St. Mark's Column in Venice (1828), The Doge's Palace, Venice (1827), Piazza San Marco, Venice (1827).
From 1824 he experimented increasingly in romantic subjects taken from history and studied armor. His best-known works on historical subjects followed: Francis I and Marguerite of Navarre, Henri III and the English Ambassador (1828), Venice. The Grand Canal (1827).
Bonington, like John Constable, was one of the English artists whose landscapes were highly regarded in France. He was among the first artists in France to paint watercolors outdoors rather than in studio. His approach to nature as well as his technique stimulated the Barbizon painters and – with Eugene Isabey, Eugene Boudin and Johann Barthold Jongkind as intermediaries – paved the way for Impressionism.
Bonington died of tuberculosis in London, only 26 years old. His style attracted many imitators in both England and France and he had an influence out of proportion with his brief life.
— A Fishmarket on the French Coast (1818; 600x933pix _ ZOOM to 1140x1772pix, 347kb _ ZOOM+ to 1400x2176pix)
— Small Fishing Rowboat in Rough Sea (1819; 600x808pix _ ZOOM to 1176x1584pix, 309kb _ ZOOM+ to 1400x1886pix)
— The Harbour of Le Havre (1822; 600x817pix _ ZOOM to 1192x1624pix, 287kb _ ZOOM+ to 1400x1907pix)
— Procession before the Notre-Dame Church in Dives (1822; 600x705pix _ ZOOM to 1168x1372pix, 268kb _ ZOOM+ to 1400x1645pix)
— Anne Page and Slender (Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, I.1) (1825, 600x497pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1161pix, 461kb)
Died on 25 October 1935: Charles Demuth,
US Precisionist painter, born on 09 November 1883.
Charles Demuth was born and died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He was born in a Lancaster house on North Lime Street. At age 7, he and his family moved to the King Street home where he spent most of his lifetime. He was the only child of successful business people; they were financially secure so that Demuth never had to work for a living, although he was never wealthy. Demuth's health was frail; from an early age he suffered from lameness and as an adult from severe diabetes. At sixteen, after a long, isolated adolescence, Demuth was sent to a prestigious private prep school, the Franklin and Marshall Academy, from which he was graduated in 1901. He remained at home for two more school years before enrolling at the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and industry in Philadelphia, then he studied with Thomas Anshutz and William Merritt Chase at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. As a young man Demuth made several trips to Europe to study. There he became part of the avant garde scene. He was attracted by the work of Marcel Duchamp and the Cubists. As he matured he moved gradually away from illustrative art. He executed a series of watercolors of flowers, circuses, and café scenes. Impressed by his abilities Alfred Stieglitz featured his works in his New York Gallery. Later in his career, Demuth began to paint advertisements and billboards into such cityscapes as his "Buildings, Lancaster" (1930), in which bold, commercial lettering is complemented by the severely hard-edged abstraction of buildings. Demuth created most of his art in his home where he worked in a small second floor studio of the rear wing, overlooking the garden. He was homosexual and lived with his partner Robert Locher at home with his parents. In his will he bequeathed his watercolors to Robert Locher, and all his other paintings to Georgia O'Keeffe. Among Demuth's best-known works are his poster portraits such as the tribute to the poet William Carlos Williams, "I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold.". Charles Demuth died of complications from diabetes in 1935, shortly before his fifty-second birthday. He helped channel modern European movements into American art and was a leading exponent of Precisionism. Less known are his pictures of flowers, Bermuda, and the homosexual navy scene.
The Figure 5 in Gold is deservedly one of the icons of American modernism, but it came almost at the end of Demuth's life and its author has always seemed a little elusive beside the heavier reputations of his contemporaries Georgia O'Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, Charles Sheeler. Of them all, he was the most unabashed esthete. And the wittiest too: it's hard to imagine any of his colleagues painting a factory chimney paired with a round silo and calling it, in reference to star-crossed lovers in a French medieval romance, Aucassin et Nicolette.
Blessed with a private income from his parents in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, coddled in childhood, lame, diabetic, vain, insecure, and brilliantly talented, Demuth lacked neither admirers nor colleagues. He was well read (and had a small talent as a writer, in the Symbolist vein) and his tastes were formed by Pater, Huysmans, Maeterlinck, and The Yellow Book; he gravitated to Greenwich Village as a Cafe Royal dandy-in-embryo. Free of market worries, he did a lot of work that was private in nature, for the amusement and stimulation of himself and his gay friends, and much of it was unexhibitable at least until the 1980s.
Demuth was a rather discreet homosexual, but if he could not place his deepest sexual predilections in the open, he could still make art from them. Seen from our distance, that of a pornocratic culture so drenched in genital imagery that sly hints about forbidden sex hardly compel attention, the skill with which he did this might seem almost quaint. But in the teens and twenties the public atmosphere was of course very different, and Demuth, like other artists in the avant-garde circle that formed around the collectors Loulse and Walter Arensberg especially Marcel Duchamp, whose recondite sexual allegory The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even Demuth called "the greatest picture of our time" took a special delight in sowing his work with sexual hints. To create a secret subject matter, to disport oneself with codes, was to enjoy one's distance from (and rise above) "straight" life. The handlebar of a vaudeville trick-rider's bicycle turns into a penis, aimed at his crotch; sailors dance with girls in a cabaret but ogle one another.
If these scenes of Greenwich Village bohemia were all that Demuth did, he would be remembered as a minor American esthete, somewhere between Aubrey Beardsley and Jules Pascin. But Demuth was an exceptional watercolorist and his still-lifes and figure paintings, with their wiry contours and exquisite sense of color, the tones discreetly manipulated by blotting, are among the best things done in that medium by an American. They quickly rise above the anecdotal and the "amusing."
About 1920 Demuth began with increasing confidence to explore what would become the major theme of his career: the face of the industrial US. It may seem odd that Demuth, yearning for Paris, should have become obsessed with grain elevators, water towers, and factory chimneys. But as he wrote to Stieglitz in 1927: "America doesn't really care - still, if one is really an artist and at the same time an American, just this not caring, even though it drives one mad, can be artistic material." Precisionism was by no means just a provincial US response to the European avant-garde - the splintering of planes from French Cubism, the machine ethos from Italian Futurism. Sheeler and Demuth were painting a functional US landscape refracted through a deadpan modernist lingo that, in Demuth's case, picked up bits of Robert Delaunay and Lyonel Feininger while anticipating some of the essential subjects of Pop art.
The machine emblems of this US landscape had fascinated some of the best minds in Europe (Picabia, Duchamp, Le Corbusier), who saw them either as exotic whiffs of the Future or as instruments of irony. Being American, Demuth took the silos and bridges rather more literally. Out of this came his Precisionist masterpiece, My Egypt, 1927. It is a face-on view of a grain elevator in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Demuth's hometown, painted with such careful suppression of gesture that hardly a brushstroke can be seen. Demuth's title whimsically refers to the mania for Egyptology planted in US popular culture in 1922, when Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamen's tomb. The visual weight of those twin pale silo shafts and their pedimental cap does indeed suggest Karnak.
But Demuth may have had a deeper level of intent. His title connects to the story of Exodus. Egypt was the symbol of the Jews' oppression; it was also the starting point for their collective journey toward the land of Canaan, the forging of themselves as a collective and distinct people. An invalid in later life, Demuth was "exiled" in Lancaster, bedridden in his parents' house, cut off from the intellectual ferment of Paris and the sexual-esthetic comradeship of New York. All these were Canaan; home was Egypt. Yet he was poignantly aware that the industrial US which gave him a rentier's income had also given him a great subject which would define him as a painter. From that tension, his finest work was born.
From the Garden of the Chateau (no garden, no chateau, 1921, 51x64cm)
Aucassin and Nicolette (factory smokestacks, 1921) _ he was the most unabashed esthete. And the wittiest too: it's hard to imagine any of his colleagues painting a factory chimney paired with a round silo and calling it, in reference to star-crossed lovers in a French medieval romance, Aucassin and Nicolette.
I saw the Figure 5 in Gold (1928) _ "Luckily or not, Charles Demuth painted one picture so famous that practically every American who looks at art knows it. The Figure 5 in Gold, 1928, is a prediction of Pop art, based on an Imagist poem, "The Great Figure," by his friend William Carlos Williams:
Among the rain"Imagist" because each line, a snap unit of meaning, is meant by its isolation to be perfectly clear, a pulse in itself, without narrative - suspended for contemplation, like elements in a painting. Obviously Demuth's rendering has something in common with Hartley's arrays of banners, numbers, and emblems, and in fact Williams later recalled that he had seen and heard the firetruck in question from the window of Marsden Hartley's studio on Fifteenth Street. Here are the streetlights, the red back of the truck and the engine company number 5, that gloss-enamel heroic heraldry of the New York Fire Department, interspersed with lettered apostrophes to Williams: "BILL," "CARLO[S]," and, at the bottom left, "W.C.W." next to his own initials, "C.D."
I saw the figure 5
on a red
to gong clangs
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.
Trees and Barns: Bermuda (1917)
Born on 25 October 1881: Pablo Diego
José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de
la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz Picasso,
Spanish painter who died on 08 April 1973.
Pablo Picasso, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, was born in Málaga, Spain. Picasso's father, José Ruiz Blasco (1838-1913), was a professor of drawing, and he bred his son for a career in academic art. Picasso had his first exhibit at age 13 and later quit art school so he could experiment full-time with modern art styles. He went to Paris for the first time in 1900, and in 1901 was given an exhibition at a gallery on Paris' rue Lafitte, a street known for its prestigious art galleries. The precocious 19-year-old Spaniard was at the time a relative unknown outside Barcelona, but he had already produced hundreds of paintings. Winning favorable reviews, he stayed in Paris for the rest of the year and later returned to the city to settle permanently. The work of Picasso, which comprises more than 50'000 paintings, drawings, engravings, sculptures, and ceramics produced over 80 years, is described in a series of overlapping periods. His first notable period--the "blue period"--began shortly after his first Paris exhibit. In works such as The Old Guitarist (1903), Picasso painted in blue tones to evoke the melancholy world of the poor.
The blue period was followed by the "rose period," in which he often depicted circus scenes, and then by Picasso's early work in sculpture. In 1907, Picasso painted the groundbreaking work Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, which, with its fragmented and distorted representation of the human form, broke from previous European art. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon demonstrated the influence on Picasso of both African mask art and Paul Cézanne and is seen as a forerunner of the Cubist movement, founded by Picasso and the French painter Georges Braque in 1909. In Cubism, which is divided into two phases, analytical and synthetic, Picasso and Braque established the modern principle that artwork need not represent reality to have artistic value. Major Cubist works by Picasso included his costumes and sets for Sergey Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (1917) and The Three Musicians (1921). Picasso and Braque's Cubist experiments also resulted in the invention of several new artistic techniques, including collage.
After Cubism, Picasso explored classical and Mediterranean themes, and images of violence and anguish increasingly appeared in his work. In 1937, this trend culminated in the masterpiece Guernica, a monumental work that evoked the horror and suffering endured by the Basque town of Guernica when it was destroyed by German war planes during the Spanish Civil War. Picasso remained in Paris during the Nazi occupation but was fervently opposed to fascism and after the war joined the French Communist Party. Picasso's work after World War II is less studied than his earlier creations, but he continued to work feverishly and enjoyed commercial and critical success. He produced fantastical works, experimented with ceramics, and painted variations on the works of other masters in the history of art. Known for his intense gaze and domineering personality, he had a series of intense and overlapping love affairs in his lifetime. He continued to produce art with undiminished force until his death in 1973 at the age of 91.
Enormous body of work includes painting, sculpture, works on paper, ceramics, and poetry. For nearly 80 of his 91 years he devoted himself to artistic production that contributed significantly to and paralleled the entire development of modern art in the 20th century. Born in Malaga, Spain. His father, a painter, teaches drawing and is curator of local museum. 1891 Family moves to La Coruña. Studies painting and drawing under his father. 1895 Family moves to Barcelona. Becomes student at the School of Fine Arts. 1897 Admitted to Royal Academy of San Fernando, Madrid. Leaves Academy during winter. 1899 Begins to frequent the café, Els Quatre Gats, where he comes in contact with Barcelona intelligentsia. Creates first etching, El Zurdo. 1900 Exhibition at Els Quatre Gats. First trip to Paris. Returns to Madrid. 1901 Goes to Barcelona at end of April and Paris in May. Exhibition at Galeries Vollard. 1902 - 1903 Returns to Barcelona. Back to Paris in October 1902, where he shares a room with writer and poet, Max Jacob. In Barcelona, creates most important works of his “Blue Period”: La vie, La Celestine, The Blind Man’s Meal (1903). 1904 Moves into the Bateau-Lavoir, 13, rue Ravignan, Paris. Meets Fernande Olivier, who becomes his mistress in 1905. Important print: Le repas frugal. 1905 Three etchings exhibited at Galeries Serrurier. Meets Gertrude and Leo Stein. Beginning of the “Rose Period.” Produces 15 etchings and drypoints. Only a few impressions are pulled. Thirteen of them, added to Le repas frugal, will be used to make up Les Saltimbanques in 1913. 1906 Meets Henri Matisse and André Derain. Works on Chevaux au bain, paints Portrait of Gertrude Stein, Two Nudes, Seated Female Nude with Crossed Legs. L’abreuvoir drypoint to be included in Les saltimbanques. Produces first woodcut. 1907 Works on painting Les demoiselles d’Avignon. Keen interest in African sculpture.
All you wanted to know about Picasso and were afraid to ask together with plenty that you probably don't want to bother with. [3589 CATALOGUED ARTWORKS AVAILABLE FOR CONSULTATION it says, but they are only listed, no pictures!]
Still Life with Skull, Leeks, and Pitcher, March 14, 1945
Bonne Fête Monsieur Picasso (1961, color lithograph poster 99x63cm)
Tête de femme II (1939)
La Petite Corrida (1957)
Rape of the Sabine Women (1963, 195x131cm) _ Painted when Picasso was eighty-two, this is his last major statement about the horrors of war, and is said to have been inspired by the Cuban missile crisis. In it, Picasso transforms a familiar subject from the art of the past—the story of early Romans who, suffering a shortage of marriageable women, invited the neighboring Sabines to Rome and then carried off all their young women. Against a sunny background of blue sky and green fields, the grotesquely distorted figures are compressed into the foreground space, the horses and soldiers trampling a woman and her child. This powerful image of outrage and despair bears testimony to Picasso’s productivity and energy in the last decade of his life. _ No apparent resemblance to the same subject treated by Poussin _ Pietro da Cortona _ Rivalz _ Rubens _ David.
Self Portrait (1900, charcoal)
Self Portrait: Yo Picasso (1901)
Self Portrait (1907)
La Vie (1903)
La Tragédie (1903)
Woman with a Crow (1904, charcoal, pastel, and watercolor)
Tumblers (Mother and Son) (1905)
Famille de Saltimbanques (1905)
La Toilette (1906)
Le repas frugal (1904, 46x37cm)
— Garçon à la Pipe (1905; 844x678pix, 95kb) _ this painting established an all-time record price of $105 million at Sotheby's 05 May 2004 auction.
On-Line Picasso Project: small images of all works, with comments.
wants to understand art. Why don’t we try to understand the song of a
bird? Why do we love the night, the flowers, everything around us, without
trying to understand them? But in the case of a painting, people think
they have to understand. If only they would realize above all that an
artist works of necessity, that he himself is only an insignificant part
of the world, and that no more importance should be attached to him than
to plenty of other things which please us in the world, though we can’t
explain them people who try to explain pictures are usually barking up
the wrong tree.”
The Beginning: Childhood and Youth 1881-1901Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born October 25, 1881 to Don José Ruiz Blasco (1838-1939) and Doña Maria Picasso y Lopez (1855-1939). The family at the time resided in Málaga, Spain, where Don José taught drawing at the local school of Fine Arts and Crafts. The first ten years of Pablo’s life passed in Málaga. The family was far from rich, and when 2 other children were born (Lola (Dolorès) in 1884 and Concepción (Conchita) in 1887) it was often difficult to make both ends meet. When Don José was offered a better-paid job, he accepted it immediately, and the Picassos moved to the provincial capital of La Coruna, where they lived for the next four years. There, in 1892, Pablo joined the school of Fine Arts, but mostly his father taught him. By 1894 Pablo’s works became so perfect for the boy of his age that his father recognized Pablo’s amazing talent, handed him his brush and palette and declared that he would never paint again.
In 1895 Don José got a professorship at “La Lonja”, the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona, and the family settled there. Pablo passed his entrance examination on an advanced course in classical art and still life at the same school. He was the best than senior students in their final exam projects.
“Unlike in music, there are no child prodigies in painting. What people regard as premature genius is the genius of childhood. It gradually disappears as they get older. It is possible for such a child to become a real painter one day, perhaps even a great painter. But he would have to start right from the beginning. So far as I am concerned, I did not have that genius. My first drawings could never have been shown at an exhibition of children’s drawings. I lacked the clumsiness of a child, his naivety. I made academic drawings at the age of seven, the minute precision of which frightened me.” Picasso.
1896 Pablo’s first large “academic’ oil painting, “The
First Communion”, appeared in an exhibition in Barcelona. His
second large oil painting, “Science
and Charity” (1897) received honorable mention in the national
exhibition of fine art in Madrid and was awarded a gold medal in a competition
at Málaga. Pablo’s uncle sent him money for further studying in
Madrid, and the youth passed entrance examination for advanced courses
at the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. But already in the winter
he abandoned the classes. His everyday visits to the Prado seemed to him
much more important. At first he copied the old masters, trying to imitate
their style; later they would be the source of ideas for original paintings
of his own, and he would re-arrange them again and again in different
In Barcelona he frequented Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats), the café, where artists and intellectuals used to meet. He made friends, among others, with the young painter Casagemas, and the poet Sabartés, who would later be his secretary and lifelong friend. In Quatre Gats Picasso met the vivid representatives of Spanish modernism, such as Rusinol and Nonell; he was very enthusiastic about new directions in art, he said farewell to “classicism” and started his enduring search and experiments. The relations with his parents strained, they could not understand and forgive him the betrayal of “classicism”.
In October 1900 Picasso
and Casagemas left for Paris, the most significant artistic center at
the time, and opened studio at the Montmartre. Art dealer Pedro Manach
offered Picasso his first contract: 150 Francs per month in exchange for
pictures. His first Paris picture “Le Moulin de la Galette” (Guggenheim
Museum, New York). In December he departed for Barcelona, Málaga,
and Madrid where he became co-editor of Arte Joven. But already in May
1901 he returned to Paris. This restless life with constant travels
continued all his life, though later he would become more or less
settled, but never finally settled.
The Blue and Rose periods 1901-1906In February 1901 Picasso’s friend Casagemas committed suicide: he shot himself in a Parisian café because a girl he loved had refused him. His death was a shock, Picasso returned to it again and again: Death of Casagemas, multicolored, and the same in blue, “Evocation – The Burial of Casagemas”. In this latter canvas the compositional and stylistic influence of El Greco’s “The Burial of Count Orgaz” could be traced. Picasso started to use almost exclusively blue and green. “I began to paint in blue, when I realized that Casademas had died” Picasso.
Caught with restlessness and loneliness, he constantly moved between Paris and Barcelona, depicting in blue isolation, unhappiness, despair, misery of physical weakness, old age, and poverty. In the allegorical La Vie (1903), all in monochrome blue, again the man has the face of his deceased friend.
1904 Picasso finally settled in Paris, at 13, Rue Ravignan (until 1909),
called “Bateau-Lavoir”. He met Fernande Olivier, a model, who would be
his mistress for the next seven years. He even proposed to her, but she
had to refuse because was already married. They paid frequent visits to
the Circus Médrano, whose bright pink tent at the foot of the Montmartre
shone for miles and was quite close to his studio. There Picasso got ideas
for his pictures of circus actors. The pub Le Lapin Agile (The Agile Rabbit)
was a meeting place of young artists and authors. In the pub Picasso got
acquainted with the poets Guillaume Apollinaire and Max Jacob. The landlord,
Frédé, accepted pictures as payment, that made his café
attractive for the artists and he acquired a splendid collection of pictures,
including, of course, one by Picasso “At
the Lapin Agile”, with Picasso as a harlequin and Frédé
as a guitar player. The picture “Woman
with a Crow” shows Frédé’s daughter.
In 1907 after numerous
studies and variations Picasso painted his first cubistic picture - “Les
demoiselles d’Avignon”. Impressed with African sculptures at
ethnographic museum he tried to combine the angular structures of the
“primitive art” and his new ideas about cubism.
and Fruit Dish on a Table (1909) the critics mark the beginning
of Picasso’s “analytical” cubism: he gives up central perspective, splits
up forms in facet-like stereo-metric shapes. The famous portraits of Fernande
Woman with Pears, and of the art dealers Vollard
are fulfilled in the “analytical” cubist style .
“Synthetic” or “Collage” cubism.
By 1912 the possibilities
of the “analytical” cubism seemed to be exhausted. Picasso and Braque
started new experiments: within a year they were composing still lifes
of cut-and-pasted scraps of material, with only a few lines added to complete
the design. Still-Life
with Chair Caning. These collages led to synthetic cubism: paintings
with large, schematic patterning, such as “The
The World War I (1914-18)
changed the life, the mood, the state of mind, and, of course, the art.
His French fellow artists, Braque and Derain, were called up into the
army at the beginning of the war. The art dealer, the German Kahnweiler,
had to go to Italy, his gallery was confiscated. Picaso’s pictures became
somber, more often realistic features appear. Pierrot.
In 1916 the young
poet Jean Cocteau brought the Russian Impressario Diaghilev and the composer
Erik Satie to meet Picasso in his studio. They asked him to design the
décor for their ballet “Parade”, which was to be performed by the
Ballet Russe. The meeting and Picasso’s affirmative answer brought to
his life deep changes for years to come. In 1917 he traveled to Rome with
Cocteau and spent time with Diaghilev’s ballet company, worked on décor
met Igor Stravinsky and fell in love with the dancer Olga
Koklova. He accompanied ballet group to Madrid and Barcelona because
of Olga, and persuaded her to stay with him.
Between Two Wars 1917-1936
In 1918 Olga and Picasso
married. Contacts with high society through the ballet and the marriage
brought changes in his lifestyle. The young family moved into an apartment,
which occupied two floors at 23 Rue La Boétie, acquired servants,
then chauffeur, and moved in different social circles, no doubt due to
Olga’s influence. The chaotic artists’ get-togethers gradually changed
into receptions. Picasso’s image of himself had changed, and this was
probably reflected in more conventional language he adopted in his art,
the way in which he consciously made use of artistic traditions and was
almost never provocative.
In 1923 Picasso composed
Pipes of Pan, which is regarded as the most important painting
of his “classicist period”. Other interesting works: The
Seated Harlequin. Women
Running on the Beach.
Picasso himself admitted
that the worst time of his life began in June 1935. Marie-Thérèse
was pregnant with his child, and his divorce from Olga had to be postponed
again and again: their common wealth had become a subject for the lawyers.
During this time of personal crisis Picasso would supplement his arsenal
of artistic weapons in the form of a bull, either dying or snorting furiously
and threatening both man and animal alike: being Spanish, Picasso had
always been fascinated by bull fights, bu the “tauromachia”. October 5th
1935 his second child, daughter Maria de la Concepcion, called Maya, was
Wartime Experience 1937-1945“Guernica, the oldest town of the Basque provinces and the center of their cultural traditions, was almost completely destroyed by the rebels in an air attack yesterday afternoon. The bombing of the undefended town far behind the front line took exactly three quarters of an hour. During this time and without interruption a group of German aircraft – Junker and Heinkel bombers as well as Heinkel fighters – dropped bombs weighing up to 500 kilogrammes on the town. At the same time low-flying fighter planes fired machine-guns at the inhabitants who had taken refuge in the fields. The whole of Guernica was in flames in a very short time.”
The Times, 27 April, 1937.
The Spanish government had asked Picasso to fulfill a mural for the Spanish pavilion at the Paris World Exhibition. He planned the topic “painter and studio”, but when he heard about events in Guernica, he changed his original plans. After numerous sketches and studies, Picasso gave his own personal comprehensive view of a historical fact. His gigantic mural Guernica has remained part of the collective consciousness of the twentieth century, because Guernica has been serving as a forceful reminder of it. In 1981, after forty years of exile in New York, the picture found its way back to Spain. This was because Picasso had decreed that it should not become Spanish property until the end of fascism. In October 1937 Picasso painted the Weeping Woman as a kind of postscript to Guernica.
In 1940 when Paris
was occupied he held an action: handed out photos of Guernica to German
officers. When asked “Did you do this?” he replied, “No, you did”. Whether
the world-known military brains could not perceive the symbolism of the
picture, or the world fame of Picasso stopped the Nazis, he was not arrested.
He went on working. During the wartime he met a young woman painter, Françoise
Gillot, who would later become his third official wife.
After WWII. The Late Works. 1946-1973.
In 1944 after liberation
of Paris he joined the Communist Party, became an active participant of
Peace Movement; in 1949 the Paris World Peace Conference adopted a dove
created by Picasso as the symbol of the various peace movements; in 1950
and in 1961 (for the second time) he was awarded Lenin Peace Prize. He
protested against American invasion in Corea, against Soviet occupation
of Hungary. In his public life he always standed on humanistic positions.
Mass media turned
Picasso into a celebrity, the public deprived him of privacy and wanted
to know his every step, “but his art was given very little attention and
was regarded as no more than the hobby of an ageing genius who could do
nothing but talk about himself in his pictures.”
On 08 April 1973 he died, at last. Picasso was buried in the grounds of his Chateau Vauvenargues.
“The different styles I have been using in my art must not be seen as an evolution, or as steps towards an unknown ideal of painting. Everything I have ever made was made for the present and with the hope that it will always remain in the present. I have never had time for the idea of searching. Whenever I have wanted to express something, I have done so without thinking of the past or the future. I have never made radically different experiments. Whenever I have wanted to say something, I have said it in such a way as I believed I had to. Different themes inevitably require different methods of expression. This does not imply either evolution or progress, but it is a matter of following the idea one wants to express and the way in which one wants to express it.” Picasso.
Pablo Ruiz y Picasso was a Spanish painter and sculptor, generally considered the greatest artist of the 20th century. He was unique as an inventor of forms, as an innovator of styles and techniques, as a master of various media, and as one of the most prolific artists in history. He created more than 20'000 works.
Training and Early Work
Born in Málaga on 25 October 1881, Picasso was the son of José Ruiz Blasco, an art teacher, and María Picasso y Lopez. Until 1898 he always used his father's name, Ruiz, and his mother's maiden name, Picasso, to sign his pictures. After about 1901 he dropped Ruiz and used his mother's maiden name to sign his pictures. Picasso's genius manifested itself early: at the age of 10 he made his first paintings, and at 15 he performed brilliantly on the entrance examinations to Barcelona's School of Fine Arts. His large academic canvas Science and Charity (1897), depicting a doctor, a nun, and a child at a sick woman's bedside, won a gold medal.
Between 1900 and 1902, Picasso made three trips to Paris, finally settling there in 1904. He found the city's bohemian street life fascinating, and his pictures of people in dance halls and cafés show how he assimilated the postimpressionism of the French painter Paul Gauguin and the symbolist painters called the Nabis. The themes of the French painters Edgar Degas and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as the style of the latter, exerted the strongest influence. Picasso's Blue Room (1901) reflects the work of both these painters and, at the same time, shows his evolution toward the Blue Period, so called because various shades of blue dominated his work for the next few years. Expressing human misery, the paintings portray blind figures, beggars, alcoholics, and prostitutes, their somewhat elongated bodies reminiscent of works by the Spanish artist El Greco.
Shortly after settling in Paris in a shabby building known as the Bateau-Lavoir (which it resembled), Picasso met Fernande Olivier, the first of many companions to influence the theme, style, and mood of his work. With this happy relationship, Picasso changed his palette to pinks and reds; the years 1904 and 1905 are thus called the Rose Period. Many of his subjects were drawn from the circus, which he visited several times a week; one such painting is Family of Saltimbanques (1905). In the figure of the harlequin, Picasso represented his alter ego, a practice he repeated in later works as well. Dating from his first decade in Paris are friendships with the poet Max Jacob, the writer Guillaume Apollinaire, the art dealers Ambroise Vollard and Daniel Henry Kahnweiler, and the American expatriate writers Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo, who were his first important patrons; Picasso did portraits of them all.
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. His celebrated portrait of Gertrude Stein (1906) reveals a masklike treatment of her face. The key work of this early period, however, is Les demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), so radical in style its picture surface resembling fractured glass that it was not even understood by contemporary avant-garde painters and critics. Destroyed were spatial depth and the ideal form of the female nude, which Picasso restructured into harsh, angular planes.
Cubism Analytic and Synthetic
Inspired by the volumetric treatment of form by the French postimpressionist artist Paul Cezanne, 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 to the term cubism. Some of their paintings are so similar that it is difficult to tell them apart. Working together between 1908 and 1911, they were concerned with breaking down and analyzing form, and together they developed the first phase of cubism, known as analytic cubism. Monochromatic color schemes were favored in their depictions of radically fragmented motifs, whose several sides were shown simultaneously. Picasso's favorite subjects were musical instruments, still-life objects, and his friends; one famous portrait is Daniel Henry Kahnweiler (1910). In 1912, pasting paper and a piece of oilcloth to the canvas and combining these with painted areas, Picasso created his first collage, Still Life with Chair Caning. This technique marked a transition to synthetic cubism. This second phase of cubism is more decorative, and color plays a major role, although shapes remain fragmented and flat. Picasso was to practice synthetic cubism throughout his career, but by no means exclusively. Two works of 1915 demonstrate his simultaneous work in different styles: Pierrot 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.
Picasso created cubist sculptures as well as paintings. The bronze bust Fernande Olivier (also called Head of a Woman, 1909) shows his consummate skill in handling three-dimensional form. He also made constructions such as Mandolin and Clarinet (1914) from odds and ends of wood, metal, paper, and nonartistic materials, in which he explored the spatial hypotheses of cubist painting. His Glass of 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.
Realist and Surrealist Works
During World War I (1914-1918), Picasso went to Rome, working as a designer with Sergey Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. He met and married the dancer Olga Koklova. In a realist style, Picasso made several portraits of her around 1917, of their son (for example, Paulo en Pierrot; 1924), and of numerous friends. In the early 1920s he did tranquil, neoclassical pictures of heavy, sculpturesque figures, an example being Three Women at the Spring (1921), and works inspired by mythology, such as The Pipes of Pan (1923). At the same time, Picasso also created strange pictures of small-headed bathers and violent convulsive portraits of women which are often taken to indicate the tension he experienced in his marriage. Although he stated he was not a surrealist, many of his pictures have a surreal and disturbing quality, as in Sleeping Woman in Armchair (1927) and Seated Bather (1930).
Paintings of the Early 1930s
Several cubist paintings of the early 1930s, stressing harmonious, curvilinear lines and expressing an underlying eroticism, reflect Picasso's pleasure with his newest love, Marie Thérèse Walter, who gave birth to their daughter Maïa in 1935. Marie Thérèse, frequently portrayed sleeping, also was the model for the famous Girl Before a Mirror (1932). In 1935 Picasso made the etching Minotauromachy, a major work combining his minotaur and bullfight themes; in it the disemboweled horse, as well as the bull, prefigure the imagery of Guernica, a mural often called the most important single work of the 20th century.
Picasso was moved to paint the huge mural Guernica shortly after German planes, acting on orders from Spain's authoritarian leader Francisco Franco, bombarded the Basque town of Guernica on April 26, 1937, during the Spanish civil war. Completed in less than two months, Guernica was hung in the Spanish Pavilion of the Paris International Exposition of 1937. The painting does not portray the event; rather, Picasso expressed his outrage by employing such imagery as the bull, the dying horse, a fallen warrior, a mother and dead child, a woman trapped in a burning building, another rushing into the scene, and a figure leaning from a window and holding out a lamp. Despite the complexity of its symbolism, and the impossibility of definitive interpretation, Guernica makes an overwhelming impact in its portrayal of the horrors of war. Dora Maar, Picasso's next companion to be portrayed, took photographs of Guernica while the work was in progress. [detail]
World War II and After
Picasso's palette grew somber with the onset of World War II (1939-1945), and death is the subject of numerous works, such as Still Life with Steer's Skull (1942, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany) and The Charnel House (1945, Museum of Modern Art). He formed a new liaison during the 1940s with the painter Françoise Gilot who bore him two children, Claude and Paloma; they appear in many works that recapitulate his earlier styles. The last of Picasso's companions to be portrayed was Jacqueline Roque, whom he met in 1953 and married in 1961. [Jacqueline in the Studio, 1956]. He then spent much of his time in southern France.
Late Works Recapitulation
Many of Picasso's later pictures
were based on works by great masters of the past Diego Velazquez,
Gustave Courbet, Eugene Delacroix, and Edouard Manet. In addition to painting,
Picasso worked in various media, making hundreds of lithographs in the
renowned Paris graphics workshop, Atelier Mourlot. Ceramics also engaged
his interest, and in 1947, in Vallauris, he produced nearly 2000 pieces.
Picasso made important sculptures during this time: Man with Sheep
(1944), an over-life-size bronze, emanates peace and hope, and She-Goat
(1950), a bronze cast from an assemblage of flowerpots, a wicker basket,
and other diverse materials, is humorously charming. In 1964 Picasso completed
a welded steel maquette (model) for the 18.3-m sculpture Head of a
Woman (unveiled in 1967). In 1968, during a seven-month period, he
created an amazing series of 347 engravings, restating earlier themes:
the circus, the bullfight, the theater, and lovemaking. Throughout Picasso's
lifetime, his work was exhibited on countless occasions. Most unusual,
however, was the 1971 exhibition at the Louvre, in Paris, honoring him
on his 90th birthday; until then, living artists had not been shown there.
In 1980 a major retrospective showing of his work was held at the Museum
of Modern Art in New York City. Picasso died in his villa Notre-Dame-de-Vie
near Mougins on 08 April 1973.