Pablo Picasso is one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century and a co-founder of the Cubist movement.
As well as being one of the most innovative artists, he was also one of the most prolific. He produced an estimated 20,000 artworks during his career including approximately 2,000 different prints.
Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain in 1881 to Don José Ruiz Blasco, an art teacher, and Doña Maria Picasso y Lopez. Early on, he exhibited artistic talent beyond his years and received tuition from his father from age seven. Following a move to Barcelona, Picasso attended the School of Fine Arts in 1895 and then Madrid Academy in 1897.
Picasso visited Paris for the first time in 1900 and returned in 1901 for his first solo exhibition at Galerie Vollard. He started his “Blue Period,” characterized by images of sad women and beggars rendered in various shades of blue. In 1904, Picasso settled in Paris.
Picasso’s “Rose Period” began in 1905, characterized by images of circus people rendered in a much brighter palette of pinks and oranges.
His 1906-1907 painting “Les Demoiselles d'Avignon” was a turning point that saw him develop a more revolutionary approach influenced by Negro art and the work of Paul Cezanne.
Picasso’s African-influenced work produced during 1908 and 1909 led to the development of Cubism. He met Georges Braque in 1907 and together they founded the Cubist movement. In 1937, he produced one of his most famous works, the Surrealism-inspired painting “Guernica,” in response to the bombing of the Spanish town of the same name.
Picasso is particularly well known for his prints and spent the first 40 years of his career exploring different methods of production. At the end of 1945, he started a residence at the Mourlot studio in Paris where he printed some of his finest lithographs.
Up until this point Picasso had only occasionally experimented with lithography. Once he realized he could rework an image on the same printing surface thus preserving the complete evolution of the composition he was hooked.
His most significant prints were part of the “Vollard Suite,” published in 1933 by Ambrose Vollard, a highly influential French publisher, and widely regarded as the greatest formal group of prints produced during the 20th Century.
Picasso died on April 8, 1973 in France aged 91
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