(Spanish, 1881-1973) Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain on October 25, 1881. From a young age, he began learning about art from his father, who was the curator of the local museum and an artist himself. His father taught him how to draw and how to paint with oil. When he was 13, Picasso attended the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona. In 1897, he began attending Madrid’s Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, the top art school at the time, but he soon left to move to Paris and begin his independent artistic practices. Picasso had a significant influence on 20th-century art, mainly due to the wide variety of styles and mediums that he worked in. Though most well-known for his paintings, he was also a writer, sculptor, printmaker, and ceramicist. His style developed from the Blue Period (1901–04) to the Rose Period (1905) to the pivotal work Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and the subsequent evolution of Cubism from an Analytic phase (ca. 1908–11) to its Synthetic phase (beginning in 1912–13). Picasso’s collaboration on ballet and theatrical productions began in 1916. Soon thereafter, his work was characterized by neoclassicism and a renewed interest in drawing and figural representation. In the 1920s the artist and his wife, Olga (whom he had married in 1918), continued to live in Paris, to travel frequently, and to spend their summers at the beach. From 1925 to the 1930s Picasso was involved to a certain degree with the Surrealists, and from the fall of 1931 he was especially interested in making sculpture. In 1932, with large exhibitions at the Galeries Georges Petit, Paris, and the Kunsthaus Zürich, and the publication of the first volume of Christian Zervos’s catalogue raisonné, Picasso’s fame increased markedly.
By 1936 the Spanish Civil War had profoundly affected Picasso, the expression of which culminated in his painting Guernica (1937, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid). Picasso’s association with the Communist Party began in 1944. From the late 1940s he lived in the south of France. Among the enormous number of exhibitions that were held during the artist’s lifetime, those at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1939 and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, in 1955 were most significant. In 1961 the artist married Jacqueline Roque, and they moved to Mougins. There Picasso continued his prolific work in painting, drawing, prints, ceramics, and sculpture until his death on April 8, 1973. Recent exhibitions of his work include Picasso: Tradition and the Avant-Garde, Museo Nacional del Prado and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2006); Picasso and American Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2006) traveling to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2007); Picasso et les Maîtres, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais (2008–09); Picasso: Challenging the Past, National Gallery, London (2009) and Picasso, Metropolitan Museum, New York (2010). Today, his works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as institutions devoted solely to his life work, such as the Museo Picasso Málaga, the Museu Picasso in Barcelona, and the Musée National Picasso in Paris.