A Brief Biography
Pablo Ruiz Y Picasso was the most famous artist of the 20th century. He was born on October 25, 1881 in Malaga, Spain. Picasso showed great talent at an early age. He loved to paint pictures of city life and was fascinated by the circus. He also enjoyed painting pictures of the day-to-day life of poor people in his neighbourhood and was also very poor himself. His father, Jose Ruiz Blasco, was a Castilian art teacher in Malaga and his mother, Maria Picasso, was an Andalusian of Majorcan origin. In 1896 Picasso entered the school of fine arts where his father was a professor.
In 1900, Picasso visited Paris, at the time the world's centre for art and literature, and became infatuated with its street life, in particular, the area of Montmarte, Paris' bohemian district where he was able to study the City's poorer people. More importantly, it was here that he discovered the posters of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, which inspired him into creating one of his great paintings, the "Mouilin de la Galette". It was here, in Paris, that most of his success was accomplished.
Three months later, Picasso returned to Spain and co-founded the short-lived magazine "Arte Joven" (first issue March 31, 1901 - "Young Art"), in Paris. On a second trip to Paris, in the summer of 1901, he exhibited his works at Ambroise Vollard's gallery in the Rue Lafitte and became good friends with the avant-garde poet Max Jacob. It was during this visit that he discovered Vincent Van Gogh, who inspired him to create "The absinthe Drinker" (1901, William Jaffe Collection, New York City) and also the "Dwarf Dancer".
Suddenly, the 20-year-old painter, who now signed himself "Picasso", his mother's maiden name, moved toward a symbolism of great anguish and misery, inspired by the French painter Maurice Denis and the Spanish painters Isidro Nonell Y Monturiol and El Greco. This was his Blue Period, so called because most of these paintings were dominated by various shades of blue. During this period, most of the paintings also display figures of tragedy.
In April of 1904, Picasso went to Paris and decided to stay there for good. It was there, in Paris, that he met Fernande Olivier who describes Picasso (at the age of 23) as follows:
"Small, dark, stocky, restless, disquieting, with eyes somber, deep, piercing, strange, almost staring. Clumsy gestures, womanish hands, badly dressed, rather messy. Thick hair, black and lustrous, slashing across his intelligent and stubborn forehead. Half bohemian, half worker in his appearance..." .
Picasso's Rose Period was a result of the happiness he found with one of his mistress and started soon after they met in 1904. During this period, his works were filled with delicate pinks and the figures, while still somewhat sad, were not desolate as the subjects of the Blue Period had been; figures became more lively and family groups replaced the lonely prostitutes and beggars of earlier works.
Picasso, who liked to attend the Medrano Circus with his friends, became influenced and aroused with what he saw. This resulted in many portraits of circus people and circus life in general. Such portraits are as follows: "Girl on a Ball" (1905, State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow), "Taciturn and Androgynous Harlequins", "Flatness of Frescoes", "Family of Saltimbanques" and also his famous "Woman with a Fan", an unsmiling woman who raises a hand as though bidding farewell to the works of Picasso's youth.
It was during a stay at Gosol, in Spain, in the summer of 1906, that he began to paint solid, distorted female nudes at there toilets, seen in "The Coiffure" (Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art, New York City), "Nude on Red Background" (Louvre, Paris), and "La Toilette."
Suddenly, between the end of 1906 and the spring of 1907, Picasso painted a revolutionary and uncompleted work called:...