People - Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso  - Artist  1881-1973

by Chris Chaplow

Pablo Picasso Picasso was born in 1881 in a house ( now a museum Casa Natal ) on Plaza de la Merced in Malaga, first child of Don José Ruiz y Blasco (1838-1913) and María Picasso y López. 

He  was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso in the Santiago Apostal parish church on Calle Granada where a small plaque can be seen on the facade.

When Pablo was ten years old the family moved to La Coruña, Galicia, where his father became a professor at the School of Fine Arts. They stayed almost four years before moving to Barcelona.

Recognising  a talent, Picasso's father sent 16 year old Pablo to Madrid's Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. Pablo disliked formal instruction and stopped attending classes soon after enrollment.

Picasso lived between Madrid, Paris and Barcelona and made a tour of Spain which included a visit ( to be his last) to Malaga in the lat 1890's. He changed his form of expression and began to show his personal style. The first series he produced were his famous "Blue Stage" and "Pink Stage" after which came cubism, collage, classicism and finally a combination of these many styles and the total freedom with which he chose to express himself.

At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 Picasso was living in Avignon where he  was able to continue painting uninterrupted, unlike his French comrades. His paintings became more somber.

Among his friends during this period were Jean Cocteau, Jean Hugo, Juan Gris, and others. In the summer of 1918, Picasso married Olga Khokhlova, a ballerina. The two had a son, Paul in 1927.

Guernica was exhibited in July 1937 at the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris International Exposition.   Without a doubt, Guernica is not only his best known masterpiece, but also one of his most famous examples of contemporary art. In this piece we see how the Spanish Civil war - and especially the bombings - affected the artist.

In 1944, after the liberation of Paris, Picasso, then 63 years old, began a romantic relationship with an art student named Françoise Gilot who was 40 years younger.  they had two children: Claude, born in 1947 and Paloma, born in 1949.

Picasso had many affairs with women of different ages. Jacqueline Roque (1927-1986) worked at the Madoura Pottery in Vallauris on the French Riviera, where Picasso made and painted ceramics. She became his lover, and then his second wife in 1961. The two were together for the remainder of Picasso's life.

By the 1960s Pablo Picasso was an international celebrity.

Picasso was exceptionally prolific. The total number of artworks he produced has been estimated at 50,000, comprising 1,885 paintings; 1,228 sculptures; 2,880 ceramics, roughly 12,000 drawings, many thousands of prints, and numerous tapestries and rugs.

Pablo Picasso died on 8 April 1973 in Mougins, France aged 92.

He died without leaving a will and in order to pay French inheritance tax half of his art collection passed to the state and is today exhibited in Paris.  

It is said he wished his art to return to Malaga and his daughter commenced negotiations with Andalucian regional Government for most of his remaining works to be permanently exhibited in Malaga. There are also works exhibited in Barcelona, mainly from the early period.

In spite of the fact that Picasso only made one or two brief visits to Málaga after the age of ten, locals cherish his memory and make much of the possible effects that time he spent in Málaga could have had on his life work.

Places to see Picasso's work in Malaga

Picasso Museum


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