Born 1881
Hometown Málaga, Spain
Education
Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, Spain

Château Grimaldi, Antibes, France

Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY

Louvre Museum, Paris, France

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

Modern Museum of Art, New York, NY

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain

Museo Picasso Málaga, Málaga, Spain

Museu Picasso, Barcelona, Spain

Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Richmond Art Museum, Richmond, IN

Pablo Picasso ranks among the most significant artists in Western art history, and his extraordinarily wide-ranging body of work definitively shaped the course of modern art, influencing virtually every artist or movement that followed. Born in Spain in 1881, Picasso was the son of an academic painter and studied art in Barcelona, where the city’s fin-de-siecle avant-garde was an early influence. In 1904, he settled permanently in Paris, where he would remain for the majority of his life, and became part of the artistic milieu of the bohemian Bateau-Lavoir district. There he met poets such as Guillaume Apollinaire and Max Jacob, who became early commentators on and champions of his work.


Picasso’s work moved through several distinctive phases, though certain themes remained constant throughout his entire oeuvre. His early “Blue Period” of 1901 to 1904, named for the somber palette of the canvases, explores themes of poverty, loneliness, and despair, a response to the suicide of his friend Casagemas, with whom he had first traveled to Paris. After establishing himself in France, he turned his attention to the city’s itinerant performers, often depicting clowns and harlequins in the works of his “Rose Period.”


A formative influence on Picasso was the works he was exposed to at the notorious evening salons hosted by the adventurous art patrons Gertrude and Leo Stein, notably Fauvist works by Henri Matisse, as well as the art and artifacts of Africa and Oceania, which were avidly collected by avant-garde artists at the turn of the century. Picasso’s 1906 portrait of Gertrude Stein, in which her facial features appear to be modeled after an Iberian mask, reflects the artist’s early stylistic experiments with so-called “primitivism,” which came to full fruition in his masterpiece Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907). In Les Demoiselles, jagged figures adopt classically-derived poses, with African and Iberian masks in lieu of heads. The fragmented planes and sharp angles of the painting are often considered the artist’s first foray into a proto-Cubist mode.


The Cubist style for which Picasso is perhaps best known was developed by the artist in close dialogue with Georges Braque; indeed, during the early years of Cubism, the two artists' styles were so similar that it can be difficult to distinguish the work of one from the other. These Cubist works are typically divided into two distinct phases: the first, Analytic Cubism (1910-12), is characterized by a radically simplified vocabulary of lines and planes in a near-monochrome palette of browns, ochres, and grays, while the second, Synthetic Cubism (1912-14), is marked by the incorporation of collaged elements, such as scraps of paper, bottle labels, and newsprint.


Following World War I, Picasso’s work turned away from Cubism towards an exploration of a classicizing mode, and his work of the interwar years often explores mythological subjects such as minotaurs, centaurs, and satyrs, as well as sculptural figures clad in togas. His work of the late 1920s also reflects the influence of Surrealism, with depictions of ambiguous, anthropomorphic objects and grotesquely distorted figures.


The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s had a dramatic effect upon Picasso, resulting in one of the most significant works of his career, the massive, mural-like tableau Guernica (1937), which memorializes the bombing of a Spanish town. He evokes the horrors of war and attendant human suffering in a chaotic arrangement of fragmented planes, recalling his earlier Cubist works, alongside writhing figures, disembodied heads, and braying horses. The work was first displayed at the Spanish Pavilion at the 1937 Exposition Universelle in Paris and was sent on an international tour to raise funds and awareness about the Spanish plight. 


In the postwar years, up until the very end of his life, Picasso continued to experiment in multiple mediums, including ceramics, sculpture, and printmaking. The last two decades of his life were among his most prolific, and his work of this period often exhibits a sense of freedom of expression, coloristic ingenuity, and stylistic diversity, often returning not only to themes he had explored earlier in his career, but also the work of the Old Masters. 

Works Available for Purchase

SHOWS

Articles

How to Dress Like 15 Famous Artists for Halloween
Five Art Park Retreats to Beat the City Heat
Why Does Art History Have the Blues?
6 Artworks to Invest in This December
Auctioneer Peter Loughrey on Mixing Art & Design
Larry Clark & Other Artists in the News
The History of the Found Object in Art
Cubism's Revolutionary Legacy
Alex Glauber on the Secret History of Color
6 Artworks to Invest in This May
Seeing Richard Prince's "Canal Zone," 6 Years On
6 Artworks to Invest in This June
Art Collectors of Our Time: A Field Guide
A Brief History of Art Basel
Looking at 6 Famous Artist-Critics
Collector Adam Lindemann on Picking Winners
10 of Art History's Most Important Defunct Galleries
Kasper König on Manifesta's Hidden Politics
What Did Meyer Schapiro Do?
10 Artists Reshaping Art in the 21st Century
Know Your Critics: What Did Leo Steinberg Do?
8 of the Best Artworks at EXPO Chicago 2014
6 Artworks to Invest in This October
10 Artists to Watch This October
Michael and Susan Hort's Picks at FIAC 2014
Rebecca Rabinow on Cubism's Legacy
Forger Mark Landis on Becoming an Unlikely Folk Hero
Albers on #TheDress, Picasso the Thief, & More
Piotr Uklański on Finding Sex & Death at the Met
Robert Mnuchin on How He Conquered the Art Market
6 Artworks to Invest in This April
Morgan Falconer on Where Painting Is Going
First, Do No Harm: The Cardinal Rules of Framing
Picasso Among the Geishas
9 Paintings at Frieze to Take Your Troubles Away
Alain Servais on Art-Market Insider Trading
The Philosophy of Jeff Koons in 20 Homilies
Art Rank's Carlos Rivera on His Grand Data Play
7 Animal Artworks From Across Art History
Noah Charney's Artspace Picks
The Rise of Figural Non-Objectivity
Keltie Ferris on Humanizing Her Post-Digital Art
5 Masterpieces of Avant-Garde Photography
10 Artists to Watch This September
8 Mini Masterpieces From MoMA's Picasso Show
Dana Schutz on Making Paintings that Push Back
Bill Arning on the Return of Figurative Painting
Sandy Rower's 5 Favorite Works From FIAC
Michele Robecchi's NADA Miami Beach 2015 Picks
Jeffrey Deitch on his Miami Pop-up Show
10 of the Best Artworks at Art Basel Miami 2015
Pablo Picasso’s Deeply Personal Porcelain
The Human Figure in 7 Twentieth Century Paintings
What Does 2016 Hold for the Art World?
Ellsworth Kelly on the "Great Joy" of His Art
How Salvador Dalí Forged His Own Masterpieces
A Few Questions for Artist Lucky DeBellevue
An Interview With Night Gallery's Davida Nemeroff
The Authenticity Scout: A Q&A With Kerry Schuss
10 Standout Painters to Discover at Independent
A Few Questions for Edgardo Aragón
An Afternoon With Erró, Iceland's Lichtenstein
I Survived the Zombie Formalism Apocalypse
Why We Love Nicole Eisenman's "Untitled (Red)"
How to Really, Truly Appreciate a Work of Art
Super Dakota's Founder on Why The Art World Needs Transparency
Charles Gaines on How to Stay in the Art Game
A Few Questions for Baron Von Fancy
6 Artworks You May Regret Seeing
The 10 Worst Ways to Die in a Bosch Painting
9 Expert Tips for Building a Great Art Collection
7 Radical Lessons From "Modern Art in America"
How to Decorate the Perfect Living Room
5 Forbidden Nudes of the Prado
See the Evolution of Fashion Illustration
Summer Reads: 9 Breezy Art Books for the Beach
What Was Abstract Expressionism?
Alex Katz on Why Artists Should Stick to a Style
Less is More: 5 Tips for Choosing Minimalist Art
Ai Weiwei on How He Became an Artist
Why Sculptor Aaron Curry is Returning to Painting
Collect Artists That Madonna Collects
10 Female Fashion Photographers You Need to Know
10 MoMA Exhibitions We Wish We Were Alive to See
Hans Ulrich Obrist on Why Painting Is Urgent Now
Three Painters Changing How We See Ourselves
Three Abstract Painters You Need to Know
Flower Porn: 9 Erotic Portraits of Plants
Three Fresh-Faced Painters Changing the Game
10 Epic Masterpieces That Sold at Christie's
Inside Gwyneth Paltrow's Love Affair With Art
Thomas Hirschhorn on Making Confrontational Art
Tiffany Zabludowicz's NADA Miami Beach 2016 Picks
How to Make It in the Art World
The 27 Best Paintings of NADA Miami Beach 2016
The New Future of History Painting
Ed Winkleman on the Art Industry's New Landscape
Stefan Simchowitz on How to Sell Art Amid Chaos
New Nude Painters Reimagining the Form
3 Game-Changing Canadian Painters to Know
6 Questions the Art World Must Ask Itself in 2017
The Revolution Will be Crowd-Funded: Greg Allen’s Guernica
The History of Blue in Frankenthaler, Picasso, and Klein
Words, Thoughts, and Phrases: Ed Ruscha's Literary Pop Paintings
'Frictionless Painting' and the Smooth Flow of Capital/Content
The 10 Essays That Changed Art Criticism Forever
What Are the Kids of Famous Artists Doing Now?
Ten Depictions of the Cosmos by Modern Masters
13 Artworks (Spanning 50,000 Years) of the Female Nude
Why We Shouldn't Separate the Art From the Artist's Misogyny

DISCOVER

a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.

LEARN

through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.

BUY

authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.

CONNECT

with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.

INSIDER ACCESS TO THE WORLD'S BEST ART

Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.

  • COLLECT FROM 300+ GALLERIES & MUSEUMS