Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P = Pablo Picasso in Paris - A to Z Challenge

A Spanish artist came to town. . .

Pablo Picasso 1962, via Wikipedia Commons (PD)

Pablo Picasso, the Spanish painter of Guernica, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer.  His complete name is 'Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso'.  Thankfully, he used the short form.  Picasso demonstrated uncanny artistic talent in his early years, painting in a realistic manner through his childhood and adolescence. 

Best Known Works:

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907)

Guernica (1937)

The Weeping Woman (1937)


Picasso made his first trip to Paris in 1900, when it was the art capital of Europe. He met his Parisian friend, the journalist and poet Max Jacob soon after arriving.  Soon they shared an apartment in Montmartre; Max slept at night while Picasso slept during the day and worked at night.  These were times of poverty, cold and desperation. Much of Pablo's early work was burned to keep the small room warm.

While in Paris, Picasso became part of an artistic group of friends in the Montmartre and Montparnasse quarters, including André Breton, poet Guillaume Apollinaire, writer Alfred Jarry, and Gertrude Stein.   By 1905, Picasso had become a favourite of the American art collectors, Gertrude and Leo Stein.  Gertrude eventually became Picasso's principal patron, acquiring and exhibiting his work in her informal Salon at her home in Paris.  At one of these gatherings in 1905, he was introduced to Henri Matisse who became his lifelong friend and rival.

Le Bateau-Lavoir

Le Bateau Lavoir, Picasso lived and painted here - by DG Hudson

Pablo Picasso took up residence in the Le Bateau Lavoir between 1900 and 1904.  He had moved away by 1911, and most of the other artists followed as war loomed in 1914.  It was in this milieu that Picasso first discussed Cubism. While in the Bateau-Lavoir he painted one of his most noted works, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.

Women were attracted to Pablo's brooding and bohemian ways in his younger days and throughout his life. The photographer and painter Dora Maar was a lover and constant companion of Picasso. The two were closest in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and it was Maar who documented the painting of Guernica

Throughout his life Picasso maintained a number of mistresses in addition to his wife or primary partner.  As a result, his marriages were marked by strife and two of his ladies killed themselves after his death.  Picasso was married twice and had four children by three women.

Pablo Picasso died on 8 April 1973 in Mougins, France.  Jacqueline Roque, his third wife, prevented his children Claude and Paloma from attending the funeral.  Devastated after Picasso's death, she took her own life in 1986; she was 59 years old.  Four children survived. 

Picasso was another of those interesting personalities that gravitated to Paris at the same time.  A passionate man who pursued his vision.  He lived life the same way.

My favourite Picasso?  Guernica

Are you a fan of Picasso's art? Any favourite works, sculptures by Pablo?  Please share in the comments.

***  - Artists at Bateau Lavoir  - Pablo Picasso - Artworks, quotes and biography