About the Artist
“Painting is a blind man’s profession.” Picasso said, “He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen.”
Pablo Ruiz y Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain in 1881, the oldest, and only son, of three children. His father, Don Jose Ruiz y Blasco was a painter and art teacher. He gave Picasso, who showed talent at a very young age, his first art lessons. When he was thirteen, Picasso’s seven year old sister, Conchita, died of diphtheria. The family moved to Barcelona, where his father got a job teaching at the School of Fine Arts. He persuaded the school to let Picasso take classes, but Picasso preferred to work on his own and didn’t do well in school. In 1888, Picasso was sent, by his father, to study at the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. Again, Picasso showed no interest in formal classes, and instead, spent his time drawing and painting on his own and visiting The Prado, to study the works of Goya and El Greco, which influenced his later work.
Picasso moved to Paris in 1900, the beginning of his Blue Period, 1904-1906, in which began with the suicide of his friend, Carlos Casagemas. The Rose Period followed, during which a lightening of Picasso’s mood was reflected in his work.
Around 1909, Picasso and painter Georges Braque, began to paint objects in terms of their most basic shapes. Picasso’s Cubist work changed the way art was viewed, and created, in the twentieth century. The patronage of art dealer Ambroise Vollard helped to support Picasso, as did the backing of American writer and art collector, Gertrude Stein and her brother, Leo. Picasso completed many works in the neoclassical style during World War l and later created surrealist work, like Guernica, depicting the bombing of the Basque village during the Spanish Civil War in 1937. Throughout his life, he also worked in a variety of printing techniques, like linocut, lithography and etching and became a skilled printmaker.
By the 1950s, Picasso was an international celebrity, partly because of his tabloid-like exploits with women. He was married twice and fathered four children with three different women. Picasso created work throughout his lifetime. He died in 1973, at the age of 91, in Mougins, France. The Musee Picasso, in Paris, houses much of his own works and those of other artists from his personal collection. The Museu Picasso in Barcelona houses many of his early works. In 2015, his painting Women of Algiers sold at Christie’s for $179.3 million, the highest price ever paid for a painting.