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
 

 
 

 

 

 



The Old Savage
 
1963-1973



 

 

Things make a similar impression in the graphic work. Never before had Picasso done as many etchings as he did in the last years of his life. The command of Picasso the craftsman was plainly un-diminished. Using various etching and aquatint techniques, linear and otherwise, he was still drawing figures with a single line and a steady hand as late as summer 1971. This may be the best place to identify Picasso's subtle intentions. Many of the etchings betray formal inconsistencies, with carefully worked areas appearing alongside negligently scrawled details, and there are visible gaps in Picasso's handling of compositional questions. But the sheer number of his supposed slips is enough to preclude all possibility of spontaneity in his work.

The main subject is sexuality. It is so obsessive that the public has continued to find this area of Picasso's work problematic to this day. Picasso was probing at a great social taboo. The public reception of his late work (this only proves how disturbing this work seems) has been masterly in its repression of this part of his oeuvre. In 1980, for instance, the great retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York almost entirely excluded his sexual material. It still strikes many as so provocative that on the occasion of the first retrospective of his late work, in 1988, debate centred on whether Picasso was a pornographer. Whenever it has not been possible to avoid the sexual pictures, the orthodox Picasso reception has dictated that biographical reasons be adduced for Picasso's obsessive treatment of sex, implying that Picasso had to get a dirty old man's fantasies out of his system.

 

None of this is convincing, and in fact the truth of the matter is far more intractable. Picasso's explicit pictures were part of the Sixties revolution. The rebellion against taboos at that time must almost inevitably have reminded him of similar currents earlier in his life. Tellingly, he started from works in which, agreeing with his friend Apollinaire's radical views, he had used pornography to combat encrusted bourgeois morality. It was not that Picasso's 1968 etchings were a direct contribution to the struggles of the young generation: the work was not political in nature. But he did nonetheless, in his seclusion, follow events on television, and the general mood of rebellion confirmed him in his own refractory individualism.

 

Picasso's sexual etchings and paintings followed a line of thought that involved transformational effects, among them those of costume. Behind this lay not only the anarchist mood of early studies done in 1902 but also the major artist and model series done in the late Twenties and early Thirties. Again, in his work of the Sixties and Seventies, Picasso combined allusions to the art of the past with themes and motifs that were constants in his own repertoire: the theatre, the circus, ancient mythology. Though this late work initially strikes us as rudimentary and chaotic, the form and content are in fact subtly judged. Thus in 1966 we find him commenting on sexuality in his etchings by peopling sexual organs with figures. Gustav Klimt had already availed himself of this method at the beginning of the century. Still, in almost all Picasso's pictures the voyeurist element is dominant. The artist and his female nude model are almost invariably being ob-Nerved by ugly old men in various kinds of costume. This has led people to infer that it is the old Picasso we are seeing, humorously burlesquing his own physical impotence by casting himself in the role of voyeur.
 


Untitled
1966

 


Nude Man and Nude Woman
1966

 


Suite 347, Plate I
1968

 


Suite 347, Plate 6
1968
 


Suite 347
, Plate 8
1968

 


Suite 347, Plate 290
1968

 


Suite 347, Plate 298
1968

 


Man and Nude Woman
1969
 


Couple
1970

 

No doubt the artist was expressing personal problems; but too simple a one-to-one identification would be wrong. It would be apt, in fact, to drawings of a like nature done in the Fifties. In the late work, the observers are of too various a sort, and at times the figures exchange roles, too. A baroque nobleman will become an artist and paint the beautiful model himself. The painter always remains the creator. This fact expresses Picasso's view of art as an act of (pro)creation presented to a public itself incapable of creative endeavour. In view of the intimacy of the act of (procreation, it is tantamount to shamelessness if the urge to expose is constantly being satisfied, the private secrets revealed. Picasso rarely expressed the role of the modern artist, under constant observation by the omnipresent mass media, with such illuminating force. The painter under public scrutiny (i.e. Picasso himself) is obliged constantly to play new roles. He is the knight and the sailor, the circus artiste and the nobleman, but above all he is the "new Rembrandt". In the work of his old age, Picasso took the 17th-century Dutch painter as the artist par excellence with whom it was possible to identify. "Rembrandt and Saskia" heralded a lengthy series of paintings which to a greater or lesser extent constituted masked self-portraits of Picasso. He was returning to the outmoded idea of the productive, creative person as genius.

 

 


Standing Nude
1963
 


Seated Nude in an Armchair
1963
 


Seated Nude in an Armchair
1963

 


Large Nude
1964

 


Reclining Nude
1964

 


Reclining Nude
1964

 


Reclining Nude Playing with a Cat
1964

 


Reclining Nude Playing with a Cat
1964

 


Reclining Nude Playing with a Cat
1964

 


Reclining Nude Playing with a Cat
1964

 


Reclining Nude Playing with a Cat
1964

 


Seated Nude Leaning on Pillows
1964

 


Nude in an Armchair
1964


Head of a Man
1964

 


Head of a Man
1964

 


Head of a Man
1964

 


Head of a Man
1964

 


Head of a Man
1964

 


Head of a Man
1964

 


Head of a Man
1964

 


Head of a Man
1964

 


Head of a Man
1964

 


Head of a Man
1964

 


Head of a Man
1964

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