Art of the 20th Century




A Revolution in the Arts




 





Art Styles in 20th century Art Map



 


 

 

 

 
 

 
 


Pablo Picasso



The Image of the Artist  1881-1973
The Making of a Genius  1890-1898
The Art of Youth  1898-1901
The Blue Period  1901- 1904
The Rose Period  1904-1906
In the Laboratory of Art  1906-1907
Analytical Cubism  1907- 1912
Synthetic Cubism  1912-1915
The Camera and the Classicist  1916-1924
A Juggler with Form  1925-1936
War, Art and "Guernica"  1937
The Picasso Style  1937-1943
Politics and Art  1943-1953
The Presence of the Past  1954- 1963
The Case of "Las Meninas"  1957
The Old Savage  1963-1973
The Legend of the Artist



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appendix:

Pablo Picasso - Erotic Drawings 1968-1972
Pablo Picasso and his Women
 

 
 

 

 

 



Politics and Art
  1943-1953


 

 

 


Balzac
1952

 

 

Picasso's playful mastery of new techniques can also be seen in his revived commitment to printed graphics, and in particular lithography, which had hitherto played only a marginal part in his interests. Now, working together with members of Fernand Mourlot's Paris workshop, Picasso produced over zoo lithographs between November 1945 and 1950, exploring an entire range of new technical possibilities. Planographic printing inspired Picasso. It was possible to duplicate line drawings, crayon studies or Indiaink work, and to print from different surfaces, from limestone to sheet zinc, which created particular effects and expressive potential. The work process happened in stages, which permitted interruptions to scrutinize the state of the work in hand. Originally lithography had been purely a reproductive art because, unlike woodcuts, copper engravings or etchings, it can produce an absolutely faithful copy of an original drawing. The specific technique does not necessarily affect or change colours and lines. It was this that appealed to Picasso. He used the plates and paper, crayons and oils unconventionally, and regularly turned lithographic orthodoxy topsy-turvy, making seemingly difficult or senseless demands on Tuttin the printer. Broad though their thematic range is, Picasso's lithographs ultimately have but one true subject: the artist's own virtuosity.

We see that virtuosity in the famous series of bullfight scenes, variations on a single theme printed from a single type of plate, increasingly radical in the simple sense of form, detailed and realistic or else purely linear as if to satisfy oriental ideals. We see it in Picasso's portraits of his young lover Francoise Gilot. From silhouette sketches of bullfight scenes to portrait sketches, Picasso is forever demonstrating his mastery of complex methods. That demonstrative will is present throughout the lithographic work. He used the draughtsman's entire repertoire, from classical outlines to painterly gradations of grey values, deploying his craft deliberately and affording us a full documentation of his creative process. This may account for the thematic disunity and qualitative unevenness of Picasso's lithographs.
 


The Bull
1945

 


The Bull
1945

 


The Bull
1945

 


The Bull
1945

 


The Bull
1945

 


The Bull
1945

 


The Bull
1945

 


The Bull
1945

 


The Bull
1945

 


Sketch Sheet: Bulls
1946

 


Bullfight Scenes
1945

 

 

It was a period of considerable revival for the graphic arts. Many artists were working in the medium, in an attempt to meet the expansionist demands of a market keyed to the mass media. Picasso took up a position all his own, satisfying commercial demands but at the same time using the medium to profile himself. One work dating from 1949 nicely illustrates his practice and its impact. Picasso had been asked to design a poster for the world peace conference in Paris. Aragon, visiting the studio in the Rue des Grands-Augustins, chose a lithograph of a dove which Picasso had done on 9 January 1949. Reproduced millions of times on posters, it was to become probably Picasso's most popular graphic work. Ironically, though, it had never been meant as propaganda.

 
 


The Dove
1949

 

 

 It was simply one of a number of pictures of doves with no ideological implications at all. The dove was of course a conventional symbol of peace; Picasso had liked the motif ever since early youth. In 1943, during the war, he had painted "Child with Doves", expressing the longing for peace. The lithograph of 9 January 1949 was an experiment in nuance, an attempt at using thinned India ink on a zinc plate to achieve subtle effects. The white plumage of the dove, with gentle touches of brown, was the perfect subject. Aragon, for his part, chose the picture because it had an Impressionist flavour and was thus in line with a kind of art then seen as folk-like and thus acceptable. The Communist appropriation and popularization of his work had nothing to do with Picasso's own intentions and was in fact at odds with them.

 


Claude with a Ball
1948

 


Claude in the Arms of His Mother (Francoise Gilot)
1948

 


Claude in Polish Costume
1948
 

In the immediate post-war years, the reception of his work continued to be governed by misunderstanding. The dissatisfaction of the Party, which tolerated Picasso's art for opportunist reasons, was matched by vituperative right-wing defamation. Both the 1944 autumn Salon in Paris and the great London exhibition of Matisse and Picasso in 1945 prompted imprecations that were widely parroted. At the same time a number of cultural commentaries influenced by Jose Ortega y Gasset's "The Dehumanization of the Arts" (1925) were appearing in many places. At heart, the attacks were all targeted at a supposed destruction of the image of mankind by the societal non-answerability of art - a lightly veiled demand that art and artists be subordinated to ideologies, to the binding value systems of specific political creeds. It was not only because of his fame, his avowed political commitment, and his distinctive formal idiom that Picasso attracted many of the attacks aimed at modern art. More than any other, he epitomized the autonomy of the modern artist who refuses to be squeezed into the moulds of others.

Thus his art at that time, like his life, was Janus-faced. Freedom and commitment, expansionism and withdrawal, went hand in hand. Picasso tended increasingly to retreat from Paris, where he had lived and worked for half a century, and spend his personal and creative time on the Cote d'Azur. His new-found political and artistic freedom was accompanied by a new partnership, with a young painter, Franchise Gilot; in 1947 and 1949 their children Claude and Paloma were born. His exploration of new artistic media and techniques was a counterbalance to his political involvement. If he was to be avowedly committed, adopting political positions with all the limited vision that that could often imply, then Picasso would also be absolute in his art, a creative human being who recognised no constraints.

 


Claude Writing
1951

 


Paloma
1951

 


Mother and Child
1943

 


The Sideboard at the "Catalan"
1943

 


Still Life with Candle
1943

 


Glass and Pitcher
1944

 


Woman with Brooch
1944

 


Tomato Plant
1944


 


Child with Flower
1945


 


Still Life with Skull
1945

 


Still Life with Leeks, Fish Head, Skull and Pitcher
1945

 


Head of a Woman with Green Curls
1946


 


Still Life with Skull, Book and Oil Lamp
1946



 


Head of a Woman
1947

 


Still Life on a Table
1947

 


Still Life
1947

 


Seated Woman in an Armchair
1948

 


Portrait of a Painter (after El Greco)
1950

 


Girls on the Banks of the Seine (after Courbet)
1950

 


Pages at Play
1951

 


Seated Woman with a Bun
1951

 


Mediterranean Landscape
1952

 


Nude Wringing Her Hair
1952

 


Portrait of Madame H.P. (Helene Parmelin)
1952

 


Portrait of Madame H.P. (Helene Parmelin)
1952

 


Seated Woman
1953

 


The Shadow on the Woman
1953

 


The Shadow
1953

 


Nude in the Studio
1953

 


Woman Playing with a Dog
1953

 


Seated Woman with Dog
1953


Child Playing with a Toy Truck
1953

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