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Pablo Picasso: 1881-1973: Artist

Evolved From Blue Period To Cubism

Picasso's sexual life during his Blue Period was largely confined to houses of prostitution—he would go on to create a large body of erotic art over the course of his career based on these times. As his Blue Period began to phase out, Picasso became involved with the first of perhaps five women with whom he would have long-term relationships, a divorced artist named Fernande Olivier. Picasso's cohabitation with Olivier coincided with his less gloomy Rose Period and with the beginnings of bold new directions in his art. Like other artists of the day Picasso became interested in African art, and he went through a brief so-called Primitivist period. Then in 1906 Picasso met French artist Georges Braque and the two developed the style known as Cubism, characterized by the breaking-down of faces and objects to their basic geometric forms, which the artist then might rearrange at will.

The artist's major work of this period was Les demoiselles d'Avignon,—"five horrifying women," wrote Arianna Huffington in Picasso: Creator and Destroyer, "prostitutes who repel rather than attract and whose faces are primitive masks that challenge not only society but humanity itself." The painting shocked even Picasso's friends and associates; Braque, Huffington wrote, said that it made him feel "as if someone was drinking gasoline and spitting fire." Eventually the painting was recognized as a masterpiece, but for the time being Picasso was the art world's bad boy.

What Picasso made of Cubism was something quite different from Braque's cool geometric constructions; he often produced paintings that seemed to resemble an image seen in a cracked mirror or through a broken window, and pictures of women with parts of their faces rearranged (such as the guitar-playing woman in Ma jolie of 1912) became one of his trademarks. In the late 1910s Picasso met the experimental French playwright Jean Cocteau. He did set design for an avant-garde dance piece called Parade, written by Cocteau and with music by composer Erik Satie. Picasso married a dancer from the production, Olga Khoklova, and their child Paulo was born in 1921. Again Picasso anticipated and helped to create a major artistic movement: the distorted figures and dark, subconscious quality of many of his works of the 1920s were grouped under the label of Surrealism, although once again Picasso's own take on the trend was immediately identifiable.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Jan Peck Biography - Personal to David Randall (1972–) Biography - PersonalPablo Picasso: 1881-1973: Artist Biography - Often Created New Paintings Daily, Evolved From Blue Period To Cubism, Late Art Inspired By War And Love