Pablo Picasso was born on 25 October 1881 in Málaga, Spain. The son of an academic painter, José Ruiz Blanco, he began to draw at an early age. In 1895, the family moved to Barcelona, and Picasso studied there at La Lonja, the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1897, Picasso continued his studies at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. In 1900, Picasso’s first exhibition took place in Barcelona, and later that year he went to Paris for the first of several stays during the early years of the century. Picasso eventually settled in Paris in April 1904, and soon his circle of friends included Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Gertrude and Leo Stein, as well as two dealers, Ambroise Vollard and Berthe Weill.


Picasso’s style developed from the Blue Period (1901-04) to the Rose Period (1904-06) to the pivotal work Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and the subsequent evolution of Cubism from an Analytic phase (ca. 1908-11), through its Synthetic phase (beginning in 1912). Picasso’s collaboration on ballet and theatrical productions began in 1916 and two years later married Olga Khoklova, a Russian ballet dancer. Soon thereafter, from around 1919, Picasso’s styles shifted towards neoclassicism and a renewed interest in drawing and figural representation. As Surrealism gained tract in Paris during the mid-1920s, he engaged with the movement, incorporating archetypal motifs, and reprised his interest in Primitivism. In 1927, Picasso met Marie-Thérèse Walter, with whom he had his daughter Maya.


By 1936, the Spanish Civil War had profoundly affected Picasso, the expression of which culminated in his painting Guernica (1937). It was around this time that Picasso began his relationship with Dora Maar. During the Second World War Picasso remained in Paris, continuing to produce art as well as poetry, and it was during this time that he met Françoise Gilot, with whom he had two children, Claude and Paloma. From the late 1940s, he split his time between studios in the French capital and the South of France. During the 1950s and 1960s, Picasso became increasingly preoccupied with his legacy amongst the Old Masters, embarking on a series of works inspired by canonical masterpieces by Nicolas Poussin, Eugène Delacroix, Diego Velázquez, and El Greco. Among the enormous number of Picasso 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 8 April 1973.


There are several museums dedicated entirely to Picasso’s work, including in Paris, Antibes, Vallauris, Barcelona, Münster and Málaga. Picasso’s work can be found in the following selected international collections: the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia; the Menil Collection, Houston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA); the State Hermitage, St. Petersburg; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the Albertina, Vienna; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (GAM), Turin; Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Kunstmuseum Basel; Kunsthaus Zurich; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the National Gallery, London; the Tate Collection, London.


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