One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) was born in Málaga, Spain. After his family moved to Barcelona in 1895, he studied at La Lonja, the school of fine arts, and later attended the Madrid Academy. In 1900, he had his first exhibition in Barcelona and, also in that year, he first visited Paris where he would make his home from 1904 through the end of World War II.
Picasso worked in a variety of styles and media throughout his complex and successful career, and only the briefest summary can be made here. During his Blue Period (1901-04), he created paintings of beggars and unhappy women. His Rose Period (1905) included paintings of circus performers. In 1907, Picasso’s famous painting Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon heralded the emergence of the revolutionary style of Cubism, which he developed with Georges Braque. The style of Picasso’s Cubist works, like those of other Cubist artists, evolved from the muted palette and complex compositions of Analytic Cubism (1908-11) to the brighter colors and simpler shapes of Synthetic Cubism (beginning in 1912). In 1916, Picasso began designing sets and costumes for ballet and theater productions. In the early 1920s, he made figurative paintings in a neoclassic style. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, he associated with Surrealist artists, and his work was noteworthy for a series of wrought-iron structures and other sculptures. In 1937, greatly affected by the Spanish Civil War, Picasso created his painting, Guernica, which portrays the destruction of the Spanish town of the same name. After moving to the south of France after World War II, Picasso continued to be prolific in painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, and printmaking.
Picasso is considered to be one of the greatest printmakers of the last century. His graphic output includes more the two thousand printed images, most of which were created using intaglio techniques. Picasso’s printmaking career was also notable for his collaboration with a number of master printers and his experimentation with different techniques. In the 1930s, he worked with Roger Lacourière, while in the 1940s he experimented with lithography in the workshop of Fernand Mourlot. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he worked with printer Hidalgo Arnéra and explored the linoleum cut technique. After 1963, however, the only printmaker with whom Picasso would work was Aldo Commelynck, originally an apprentice of Roger Lacourière, and his brother Piero Crommelynck, both constituting Atelier Commelynck.
As part of his printmaking practice, Picasso created dozens of illustrated books during his career. Many of these works were made in collaboration with his writer and poet friends, such as Max Jacob and Pierre Reverdy, while others were illustrated editions of classic texts. Important examples of Picasso’s books include Les Métamorphoses (1931), an edition of Ovid’s classic work accompanied by 30 etchings by Picasso, and Le Chant des Morts (1948), with handwritten poems by Pierre Reverdy and 123 lithograph illuminations by Picasso.
Books by Pablo Picasso available from Boreas Fine Art:
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