Pablo Picasso

Pablo Ruiz y Picasso was born in 1881 and died in 1973. He was born in Spain but lived most of his adult life in France. He was a painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer. Picasso is considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and is heralded as being the co-founder of the cubist movement. Cubism is an abstract representation of art that breaks apart a subject into parts and then represents the same subject from multiple perspectives.

Unlike other artists who received recognition post mortem, or after death, Picasso achieved great success while he was alive. He began painting and drawing at a very young age. He was trained in techniques by his father who was an art professor throughout Spain. After the death of his sister, Picasso and his family moved to Barcelona where once again his father obtained a position at the School of Fine Arts. Picasso's father convinced the officials at the School of Fine Arts to allow his son to take the same entrance exam as the other students. At this time, Picasso was only 13 years old but he passed the exam in one week, whereas normally it took students months to pass the exam. The officials were quite impressed and Picasso was admitted to the school.

Picasso lived in Paris in the early 1900's where he struggled to simply survive. At times it was necessary to burn his work so there would be a fire for warmth. A fortunate turn of events took place when American art collectors, Leo and Gertrude Stein began collecting some of the works of Picasso. They would display his work in the salon in their home in Paris. They held showings at their home and it was at one of these events that Picasso met Henri Matisse who would become a lifelong friend and rival.

During those early years, Picasso had one woman that he called his mistress but then left her when he met Marcelle Humbert in whom he fell madly in love. He was devastated by her death in 1915. She was only 30 years old. He was married early and separated but never legally divorced the woman because he did not want to give up half of his wealth. He married again in 1961 after many mistresses and remained with that woman until his death.

Picasso is well known for his Blue Period which lasted from 1901-1904. This period is characterized by a series of gloomy paintings that all have various hues of blues. This period was followed by the Rose Period where colors were more vibrant and the overall tone of his work was more cheery. Picasso also had an African-inspired period and a period that he dedicated to work that was greatly influenced by Classicism and Surrealism. In all, it is estimated that Picasso created close to 50,000 works of art including 1,885 paintings, 1,228 sculptures, 2,880 ceramics, and over 12,000 drawings.