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Pablo Picasso's Biography

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Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born on 25 October 1881 in No. 36 Plaza de la Merced, Malaga, Andalusia.

Picasso's father taught drawing and painting in the 'Escuela de San Telmo'.

In 1891, Pablo Picasso made his first real attempts at painting. As the dust-cover of 'Picasso' by Lothar-Gunther Buchheim puts it:

"Picasso was painting pictures which attracted attention at an age when his friends were playing marbles."

In 1896, Pablo Picasso rented his first studio - in the Calle de la Plaza in Barcelona.

The next few years were mixed ones for Pablo Picasso. His painting 'Science and Charity' won an honourable mention. 'Customs of Aragon' was awarded medals, and Picasso held his first exhibition in Barcelona. He had also, however, caught scarlet fever.

At this stage, around the turn of the century Pablo Picasso was particularly influenced by Steinlen, Toulouse-Lautrec, and El Greco.

1900 saw commercial recognition when Pablo Picasso signed a contract with art-dealer Petrus Manach. Picasso was to receive 150 francs a month for everything he painted.

In 1901 the painter started signing his works just Picasso rather than Pablo Ruiz Picasso. He had his first Parisian exhibition through which he first made the acquaintance of Max Jacob and critic Gustave Cocquiot.

All the time, in early 1900s, Picasso had been dotting about between Paris, Madrid and Barcelona, but in 1904 (or 05) he settled in Paris for a few years. He became fond of the circus world and mixed in the world of artistes.

1907 saw Pablo Picasso complete 'The Young Ladies of Avignon'.

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon to accord it its proper name was the first major example of 'analytical Cubism', which focussed on rendering the three-dimensional on the picture's surface without involving perspective.

Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque were to spend the next decade exploring Cubism.

In 1917, Pablo Picasso was trying to move away from Cubism and transform himself again. When Jean Cocteau asked him if he would work for the Russian Ballet and Diaghilev, Picassso immediately agreed. He went to Rome and met Stravinsky and ballerina Olga Koklova, who was to become his wife the following year. In 1921 his son Paul was born.

In 1935, Picasso split up with Olga. Divorce proceedings were begun but came to nothing. His daughter Maia was born - her mother was Marie Therese Walter.

In 1936, the Spanish Civil War broke out. Pablo Picasso sided with the Republicans, and in 1937 he painted 'Guernica' which was commissioned for the Spanish pavilion at the International Exhibition in Paris.

Guernica is a powerful expression of horror at war in general, and the bombing of the eponymous Basque town in particular.

After the liberation of Paris, Picasso joined the Communist Party. A year later Francoise Gilot became his companion. and in 1947 another son, Claude, was born.

In 1949, his daughter Paloma was born, and, in 1955, his wife Olga Koklova died. Two years later he had a new companion, Jacqueline Rocque.

Pablo Picasso died in 1973.

Two quotes that have been attributed to Picasso sum up his inspirational approach to art:

According to John Golding's Cubism, Picasso said: "I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them." And according to Jean Cocteau, Picasso said: "Painting is a blind man's profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen."

A notable quote from Picasso is: "Everyone wants to understand art. Why don't people try to understand the song of a bird? Why do people love the night, the flowers and everything around us without insisting on understanding them? But when it comes to a picture, people think they must "understand" it. If only they would realise that an artist creates because he must create, that he himself is only an insignificant fragment of the world and that no more attention should be paid to him than to many other things in the world which delight us although we cannot explain them.

"When we love a woman, it does not occur to us to take her measurements first. We love with our desire."

Picasso also wrote a couple of plays including "Desire Caught by the Tail" which was produced and directed by Albert Camus and the cast included Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Raymond Queneau.

In May 2010 Pablo Picasso's painting Nude, Green Leaves and Bust set a record for the most expensive art work sold at auction, fetching $106m.

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