The life of Pablo Picasso
1891-1895 : La Coruña
1895-1904 : Barcelona / Paris / Madrid
1904-1907 : around Les demoiselles d’Avignon
1908-1915 : the cubism adventure
1915-1924 : the war and after, Russian ballets and classicism
1924-1935 : Picasso and the Surrealists
1936-1939 : the Spanish civil war
1939-1945 : war and occupation
1946-1954 : the « joie de vivre »
1954-1967 : Picasso among masters
1968-1973 : final years
1880-1891 : Málaga
25 octobre 1881
Pablo born to José Ruiz Blasco (1838-1913) and Maria Picasso y Lopez (1855-1939). José Ruiz y Blasco taught drawing at the Malaga School of Fine Arts and was curator at the municipal museum. Picasso was later joined by two sisters: Dolorès, nicknamed Lola (1884-1958), and Conceptión or Conchita (1887-1895).
Encouraged by his father, Pablo began painting.
1891-1895 : La Coruña
Don José accepted a teaching post at the Guarda Institute in La Coruña.
Picasso studied at the Fine Arts School in La Coruña and practised illustration and drawing caricatures at home.
Produced his first oil paintings.
10 January 1895
Death of his sister Conchita from diphtheria. Pablo was deeply affected by his sister’s death.
In March 1895, Don José was appointed professor at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts (La Lonja). Pablo’s first visit to the Prado museum, Madrid.
July 1895 : painted La Fillette aux pieds nus (oil on canvas, MP2).
September 1895 : Met Manuel Pallarès who became a lifelong friend.
1895-1904 : Barcelona / Paris / Madrid
Pablo studied at La Lonja in Barcelona.
Picasso produced his first “grandes machines”, La Première Communion (1896,oil on canvas, Barcelone, Museu Picasso) et Science et charité (1897, oil on canvas, Barcelone, Museu Picasso), winning the Gold Medal at the General Fine Arts Exhibition in Malaga. Picasso enrolled at the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid.
Visited the village of Horta de Ebro (today known as Horta de San Juan) for the first time. Landscape studies.
In Barcelona, the artist began frequenting the Els Quatre Gats, a café in Barcelona known within the literary and artistic milieu as a place supporting modern art from France as well as Catalonian traditional and folk art. There Picasso met the famous painters Santiago Rusiñol and Ramón Casas, the thinker Eugenio d’Ors, and a whole generation of artists and intellectuals: the puppeteer Pere Romeu, the activist Miquel Utrillo, the painters Junyer-Vidal, Nonell and Sunyer, the sculptor Manolo Hugué, and the poet Jaime Sabartès, some of whose correspondence with Pablo is preserved in Picasso’s private archives.
June : the Pél y Ploma journal was published, the brainchild of Utrillo and Casas, to which Picasso contributed.
First trip to Paris, with Casagemas. His painting Derniers moments was presented at the Universal Exposition in Paris.
17 February 1901: Casagemas committed suicide at a café in Paris.
In Madrid, Picasso founded the magazine Arte Joven with the Catalan writer Francisco de Asis Soler.
In summer, Picasso held his first Paris exhibition, at the Galeries Vollard, organised by the art dealer Pedro Mañach, a reputed anarchist. It was there Picasso met the poet Max Jacob.
Start of Picasso’s Blue period during which time he frequently visited Saint-Lazare Hospital to observe the sick. Painted La Mort de Casagemas (1901, oil on canvas, MP3) and the blue Self-Portrait (1901, oil on canvas, MP3)
Produced his first clay sculpture, Femme assise (MP230), and a series of erotic drawings. Met the sculptor Julio Gonzalez.
Shared lodgings rented by Max Jacob on Boulevard Voltaire, Paris. Berthe Weill, a first dealer of Picasso in France, held in April and June two exhibitions at which Picasso displayed his blue paintings.
1904-1907 : around les Demoiselles d’Avignon
Moved to the Bateau-Lavoir studio, in Montmartre. Met André Salmon and Guillaume Apollinaire; became a frequent visitor to the Au lapin agile café and the Circus Medrano. Met Fernande Olivier, who modelled for him before becoming his partner for the next seven years.
Late 1904, Picasso gradually moved into his Rose period.
Travelled to the Netherlands. Sculpted Le Fou (1905, bronze, MP231) inspired by Max Jacob. Met Leo and then Gertrude Stein, and began her portrait (Portrait de Gertrude Stein, 1906, New York, Metropolitan Museum).
Visiting the Louvre, he discovered Iberian art (sites in Osuna and Cerro de Los Santos), then studied Gauguin. Picasso spent summer in Gósol, a remote village in Catalonia, where his Rose period flourished.
Acquired two Iberian stone head sculptures from Géry Pieret, Apollinaire’s secretary. They learned in August 1911 that they had been stolen from the Louvre.
Introduced to Georges Braque by Apollinaire.
Visited the the Trocadéro Museum of Ethnography, in Paris, and finished the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (originally titled Le Bordel philosophique inspired by André Salmon). Autumn: Cézanne retrospective held at the Salon d’Automne, an annual art exhibition in Paris.
1908-1915 : the cubism adventure
Painted landscapes and figures composed of abstract and simplified forms.
September: Matisse introduced Picasso to the Russian art collector Sergei Shchukin.
In November, Picasso organised a banquet at the Bateau-Lavoir art studio in honour of Douanier Rousseau. His guests included Guillaume Apollinaire, Marie Laurencin, André Salmon, Georges Braque and Gertrude Stein.
Through winter, he and Braque engaged in a daily pictorial dialogue.
Spent the summer in Horta de Ebro and painted six landscapes. Returned to Paris and moved to Boulevard Clichy.
Picasso developed the Analytic Cubism style (1910-1912).
Kahnweiler was appointed Picasso’s official art dealer.
Exhibition at the Galeries Vollard, then Picasso refused to show his work in Paris until 1916.
Picasso exhibition at the 291 Gallery in New York followed by numerous publications in the American press. Exhibitions in Berlin, Germany (Cassirer Gallery, Secession).
Theft of the Mona Lisa. The Iberian statues scandal: Apollinaire was arrested.
A Cubist room was opened at the Salon d’Automne, but no works from Braque or Picasso were exhibited.
Picasso introduced to the Futurist artists Carlo Carrà and Umberto Boccioni by Gino Severini.
In November, he met Eva Gouel (Marcelle Humbert), the former mistress of the painter Louis Marcoussis, and the two started an affair.
Exhibitions with the Blaue Reiter (group of artists, the “Blue Rider”) in Munich and once more in Berlin for the Secession. Picasso and Braque visited Le Havre. Started to introduce stencilled lettering and sand into his paintings, and produced his first collage Nature morte à la chaise cannée (MP36). First construction: a guitar made from cardboard (New York, The Museum of Modern Art). Picasso began introducing newspapers and other paper cut-outs into his paintings.
Spent a second summer in Céret then moved on to Sorgues. Transferred his studio to Boulevard Raspail, Paris.
Cubism entered the public domain with the Section d’Or exhibition held in autumn at the Galerie La Boétie and the subject occupying a parliamentary debate provoked by the Salon d’Automne.
Picasso participated in the International Exhibition of Modern Art at the Armory Show in New York, and at the Tannhäuser Modern Gallery in Munich.
Developed into Synthetic Cubism (Homme à la guitare, New York, The Museum of Modern Art).
April: Guillaume Apollinaire’s anthology Alcools was published with a frontispiece by Picasso.
Stayed in Céret. 3 May: Picasso’s father died. Returned to Barcelona, then moved to a new studio on Rue Schoelcher in Paris.
2 March: Auction organised by the “La Peau de l’Ours” collectors’ association to promote modern art (included 12 works by Picasso). Adopted a pointillist technique in his “rococo” cubist works (Portrait de jeune fille, Paris, Musée national d’art moderne), which exactly reproduced “patterns” made from painted paper cut-outs and off-cuts of wallpaper.
2 August: Germany declared war on France. Braque and Derain were conscripted. Apollinaire enlisted.
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1915-1924 : the war and after, Russian ballets and classicism
18 February: Max Jacob baptised with Picasso as his godfather.
Spring: Braque seriously injured.
August: Classic portraits of Ambroise Vollard (New York, private collection) and Jacques Doucet (MP771).
December: Death of Eva Gouel.
17 March: Apollinaire injured and had to undergo trepanation. Picasso introduced by Cocteau to Serge Diaghilev, director of the Ballets Russes.
Moved to Montrouge.
Accompanied Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes to Italy. Met the Russian ballerina Olga Kokhlova.
In May, the ballet Parade (libretto by Jean Cocteau; music by Erik Satie; choreography by
Picasso illustrated the programme for Apollinaire’s Mamelles de Tirésias a Surrealist play of two acts and a prologue.
Picasso painted in a pointillist style.
Matisse-Picasso exhibition at the Galerie Paul Guillaume.
12 July: Picasso married Olga Kokhlova at the Russian church on Rue Daru. Max Jacob, Apollinaire and Cocteau stood as witnesses.
Paul Rosenberg became Picasso’s art dealer.
9 November: Death of Guillaume Apollinaire.
Picasso moved to 23 rue La Boétie.
Met and encouraged Joan Miró.
TThe artist collaborated with Diaghilev on the sets and costumes of the ballet Le Tricorne in London, and then in 1920 on Pulcinella by Pergolesi for the Opéra de Paris (Cubist sets and costumes inspired by the Commedia dell’Arte).
4 February: Olga gave birth to their son Paulo.
Post-war auctions of collections sequestered by the State: sale of Wilhelm Uhde’s property in May and sales of Kahnweiler’s in June and November and then July 1922 and May 1923. First summer spent in Dinard.
In Fontainebleau, he simultaneously painted the large neoclassical compositions of two versions of Trois femmes à la fontaine (New York, The Museum of Modern Art et MP74) and two Cubist versions of the Trois musiciens (New York, The Museum of Modern Art et The Philadelphia Museum of Art).
First correspondence with Man Ray: Picasso gave him permission to reproduce his works at his pleasure. Picasso painted Deux femmes courant sur la plage (MP78), combining a classical style, monumentality and a study of movement. Picasso designed the sets for Jean Cocteau’s adaptation of Antigone performed at the Théâtre de l’Atelier (costumes by Coco Chanel).
During the summer in Cap d’Antibes, Picasso executed the large neoclassical composition La Flûte de Pan (MP79) and produced several studies of bathers. Picasso exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago; the catalogue introduction was written by Clive Bell.
1924-1935 : Picasso and the Surrealists
André Breton and Louis Aragon persuaded Jacques Doucet to buy Les Demoiselles d’Avignon for 25,000 francs.
Picasso executed large still lifes in a Cubist ornamental style, as well as the painted sheet-metal construction, the Guitare (MP260) which in December was reproduced in the first issue of La Révolution Surréaliste (The Surrealist Revolution), alongside a poetic text by Pierre Reverdy. Picasso’s works were then regularly reproduced in the publication.
Designed various ballet sets and costumes. For the ballet Mercure, performed in June, he used the soft forms inspired by fluid Cubism (based on an idea from Étienne de Beaumont, music by Érik Satie, choreographed by Léonid Massine). The ballet was not critically acclaimed so the Surrealist group published a “Tribute to Picasso” in the 20 June issue of Paris-Journal to show their support.
Also in June, the Le Train bleu ballet held its premier (stage curtain by Picasso, libretto by Cocteau, music by Darius Milhaud).
Spent time in Juan-les-Pins.
March-April: Trip to Monte-Carlo with Olga and Paul during the Ballets Russes season. Produced realistic sketches of ballerinas.
The second issue of La Révolution Surréaliste reproduced two pages of abstract drawings taken from a notebook and executed in Juan-les-Pins the year before (Constellations series, MP1869/34 V). Issue four reproduced La danse (London, Tate Modern) which Picasso had just completed, and, for the first time, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Breton’s essay Le surréalisme et la Peinture, was featured in the publication abundantly illustrated with works by Pablo Picasso. Picasso’s works were also reproduced in issue 5 of the publication.
Returned to Juan-les Pins.
Picasso contributed to the exhibition La Peinture Surréaliste the group’s first exhibition, that opened on 14 November at the Galerie Pierre.
Publication of the first issue of Cahiers d’art, a journal founded by Christian Zervos, which would regularly publish articles on Picasso over the years illustrated by numerous reproductions of his works. Picasso produced several Guitars, constructions made of canvas, rope, cut-out paper, wallpaper, nails and hooks, Surrealist variations on the theme of Cubist construction.
June: Exhibition at the Galerie Paul Rosenberg of 58 works produced between 1918 and 1926 including The Three Masks [The Three Musicians], 1921 (New York, Museum of Modern Art) and The Dance (The Three Dancers, 1925 (London, Tate).
Picasso and Olga visited Barcelona.
Picasso met Marie-Thérèse Walter, aged 17.
Engravings on the subject of the studio.
The Minotaur motif appeared for the first time in the large collage Minotaur (Paris, Musée National d’Art Moderne).
Breton published Surrealism and Painting illustrating the foreword with works by Picasso: Man with Clarinet, 1912 (Madrid, Museo Thyssen Bornemisza), and Woman in Shirt, 1913 (private collection).
In Julio Gonzalez’ studio, Picasso executed his iron sculptures Bust (MP263) and Figures (MP264 and MP265), projects for the Monument to Apollinaire, that Kahnweiler described as “outline drawings in space“.
First summer in Dinard. Painted the series of small-headed Bathers (MP106 to 110).
Picasso began collaborating with Gonzalez on Woman in the Garden (MP267). The artist produced a series of paintings in which the classical themes of large nudes was subverted by a virulent colour palette and multiple deformities, as would be seen later in May in the Large Nude in Red Armchair (MP113).
Carl Einstein published his essay “Pablo Picasso: Some Paintings from 1928”, in the first issue of Documents (15 issues between 1929 and 1930), a publication launched by dissident Surrealists led by Georges Bataille. Further articles on Picasso would be published in the magazine throughout its run, in particular by Michel Leiris.
Summer in Dinard.
On 15 December, Breton published the Second Manifesto of Surrealism in the final issue of La Révolution Surréaliste.
Picasso completed the small oil-on-wood painting Crucifixion (MP122), whose composition calls to mind the study published by Georges Bataille in Documents based on the 12th-century illuminated manuscript The Apocalypse of St. Sever (Documents issue 2, May 1929).
Picasso bought Château de Boisgeloup near Gisors, where he set up a sculpture studio. He secretly moved Marie-Thérèse into his studio at 44 rue La Boétie, Paris.
During the summer in Juan-les-Pins, Picasso produced a series of relief paintings covered in sand.
At Boisgeloup, Picasso commenced his plaster sculptures of the Large Busts series, variations on Marie-Thérèse’s face. In Juan-les-Pins, he began a series of engravings for the Suite Vollard. The art critic Waldemar-George, once an ardent admirer of Picasso, published a critical article in issue 14 of Formes referring to his “”modern neurosis“.
In autumn, The Metamorphoses of Ovid was published by Albert Skira, featuring 30 etchings by Picasso, then Ambroise Vollard published The Unknown Masterpiece by Balzac, including 36 of Picasso’s etchings.
Picasso produced a prolific series of portraits and figures of women inspired by Marie-Thérèse. Retrospective held at Georges Petit’s gallery, an extended version of which was later opened at the Kunsthaus in Zurich. The psychiatrist and psychologist Carl Gustav Jung published a critical article on Picasso in issue 13 of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung daily, which subsequently featured in Cahiers d’art.
Zervos published the first volume of the catalogue raisonné on Picasso’s work (1895-1906).
Picasso focused on engraving at Atelier 17, an art studio opened by Stanley William Hayter at 17 rue Campagne-Première, Paris.
Picasso produced a collage for the cover of the Surrealist publication Minotaur (New York, The Museum of Modern Art) for the joint issues 1 and 2 (June), which featured an article by André Breton entitled “Picasso in his element”. Minotaur regularly published articles on Picasso, notably by publisher and art critic Tériade. Picasso showed pieces at the Surrealist exhibition at the Galerie Pierre Colle (June).
Fernande Olivier’s memoirs Picasso and His Friends published.
Produced sculptures using plaster imprints of everyday objects: Woman with Foliage (MP314) and Woman with Orange (MP327).
Picasso executed his first political works: The Death of Marat (engravings MP2448 and MP2449) and Woman with a Stylet (MP136).
Over the summer, he embarked on a new series of very brutal corridas, painted, drawn and engraved, then in autumn executed four engravings on the theme of the Minotaur guided by a young girl.
It was this year that he likely met Dora Maar who had just moved her studio to rue d’Astorg. Picasso started to take part in the Surrealist group’s political and artistic activities.
In spring, he produced a series of engravings on Minotauromachy (MP2726 to MP2733). Picasso stopped painting until 1936. Picasso penned his first poems.
Picasso and Olga separated, but remained married.
5 September: Birth of Picasso and Marie-Thérèse’s daughter, Maria de la Concepción, known as Maya.
Towards the end of the year, the artist started to frequent the Surrealist group, which met at Breton’s place at 42 rue Fontaine.
Sabartés arrived in Paris and became Picasso’s secretary.
The association ADLAN (Amigos de los artes nuevas) organised, with Éluard’s help, a Picasso retrospective that was to tour Spain in early 1936.
Picasso introduced to Roland Penrose by Paul Éluard.
1936-1939 : the Spanish civil war
16 February: The Frente Popular party won the general election in Spain.
3 May: The Front Populaire won the legislative elections in France.
In May, Breton organised the Exhibition of Surrealist Objects at the Galerie Charles Ratton featuring six works by Picasso; a special issue of the Cahiers d’art journal was published on the theme of “objects”.
In London, between June and July, Roland Penrose and the Surrealist group held the Second International Surrealist Exhibition including 11 works by Picasso. Picasso also took part in the demonstration organised by Aragon in July at the Théâtre de l’Alhambra in Paris, at the same time as the play by Romain Rolland Le 14 juillet (stage curtain inspired by one of Picasso’s gouache paintings, MP1166) was performed.
18 July: General Franco’s failed pronunciamento against the Republican government led to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
Picasso met up with Dora Maar on the Côte d’Azur and the two lived together in Mougins. Picasso executed his Arlésiennes series. Picasso paid his first visit to the ancient village of Vallauris, an important pottery centre, and produced his first ceramics.
19 September: Picasso appointed honorary director of the Prado Museum by the Spanish Republic.
Picasso, assisted by Dora, produced a series of 20 photograms using the cliché verre technique: Portrait of Dora Maar, in profile, front on, three-quarter view, in a mantilla (MP1998-317, 318, 319, 321 and 323, former coll. of Dora Maar).
Participated in the Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism exhibition curated by Alfred H. Barr at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Picasso moved to 7 rue des Grands-Augustin, Paris.
Produced a series of prints The Dream and Lie of Franco to be sold as postcards to raise funds for the Spanish Republican government. The same government invited Picasso to produce a painting for the Spanish pavilion at the International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Life in Paris. Produced a series of 13 drawings in preparation for a large painting on the subject of the Painter and his Model (MP1178 to MP1191)
26 April: Guernica, capital of the Basque Country, bombed by the Nazi airforce, causing nearly 4,000 deaths in a matter of hours. The daily newspaper Ce soir, run by Aragon, and L’Humanité published images of the bombing and its victims.
Picasso began his studies on Guernica.
12 July: Inauguration of the Spanish Pavilion, designed by Luis Lacasa and José-Luis Sert. In addition to Guernica, two sculptures by Picasso were exhibited: Bust of Woman, 1931 (MP301), and The Woman with the Vase, 1933 (Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia), with pieces by other Spanish artists.
Contributed to illustrating a tribute publication to Alfred Jarry with his Portrait of Ubu.
Painted The Weeping Woman (MP165) and The Suppliant (MP168), directly inspired by the Lerida bombings, of which he procured prints by Augusti Centelles (Picasso Archives).
Produced a series including the Portrait of Dora Maar (MP1201) and self-portraits in homage to Van Gogh, which included Man with a Straw Hat and an Ice Cream Cone (MP174).
Guernica shown at a touring exhibition around England (London, Leeds and Liverpool).
1939-1945 : war and occupation
13 January: Death of Picasso’s mother in Barcelona.
26 January: Barcelona captured by the Frankists.
The exhibition Degenerate Art organised in Germany by the Nazis included four Picasso artworks.
On 29 August, Sabartés and Picasso fled to Royan, where Marie-Thérèse and Maya were spending the summer. Picasso and Dora Maar took up residence at the Hôtel du Tigre. They were joined by Jacqueline Breton and her daughter Aube.
1-3 September: Germany invaded Poland. Britain and France declared war.
Exhibition Picasso: Forty Years of his Art was curated by Alfred H. Barr, Museum of Modern Art in New York, before touring to eight cities around the US. Guernica featured in the exhibition and was shown in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.
Picasso returned to Paris. In May, Picasso was refused French nationality because of his known associations with the anarchist movement in the 1900s, according to a police report.
He lived in his studio on rue des Grands-Augustins throughout the Occupation.
Penned the six-act play Le Désir attrapé par la queue (Desire Caught by the Tail), first published in 1945 by Gallimard.
Began drawing and painting for the collaborationist newspaper Paris-Soir.
Produced his monumental plaster bust of Dora, which in 1959 would be placed in the square outside Saint-Germain-des-Prés church, in Paris, and become the Monument to Apollinaire with whom the artist started working in 1921.
Publication of Buffon’s Histoire naturelle by Martin Fabiani, publisher and gallery owner, featuring 31 aquatints, etchings and drypoint works by Picasso, commissioned by Vollard in 1936.
March: Death of Julio Gonzalez.
Picasso completed the large canvas painting The Dawn (Paris, donated by the artist to the Musée National d’Art Moderne) of which the Musée Picasso Paris owns all of the preparatory drawings (MP1230 to MP1273).
Maurice de Vlaminck published the article Open opinions on painting in Comœdia in which he launched a scathing attack on Picasso. Various young painters and intellectuals engaged in the Resistance published a series of articles in support of Picasso.
Executed the sculpture Man with Sheep modelled in clay on an iron frame and moulded in plaster for subsequent bronze casting (MP331), and the sculpture Skull (MP326).
Met Françoise Gilot, a young painter aged 22. Picasso and Dora separated. However, they continued to see each other until 1946.
28 February: Max Jacob arrested in Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire and transported to Drancy concentration camp where he died on 5 March.
The poetry anthology Contrée (Against the Grain) by Robert Desnos, who was deported to a concentration camp where he died, was published by Robert J. Godet. The publication was illustrated by an etching by Picasso (MP2003-17).
16 June: A reading was held at Picasso’s studio on rue des Grands-Augustins of Désir attrapé par la queue, performed by Jean Aubier, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Cécile Éluard, Valentine Hugo, Jacques Lacan, Louise and Michel Leiris, Dora Maar, Pierre Reverdy and Jean-Paul Sartre. The reading appears to have been a tribute to Max Jacob. Photographs by Brassaï (MP1986-32).
5 October: L’Humanité announced that Picasso had joined the French Communist Party (PCF).
The first Salon d’Automne after the Liberation was dedicated to works prohibited for display by the Nazis during the Occupation and accused of being “degenerate art”. The art show featured an important retrospective of Picasso’s work. The public responded violently to the artworks.
Picasso chaired the management committee of the Front National des Arts which investigated the cases of artists involved in the collaboration.
19 March: Performance of the Désir attrapé par la queue by Picasso at the apartment of Louise and Michel Leiris in Paris. Directed by Albert Camus with musical accompaniment by Georges Hugnet. The spectators included Georges Braque and his wife, Cécile Éluard, Jacques Lacan and Jaime Sabartés. Photo reportage by Brassaï.
Picasso produced three realistic portrait drawings of Maurice Thorez.
At the PCF’s 10th congress, Picasso was both praised and accused in the report published by Roger Garaudy, who sought to reassure the PCF’s official painters following Zhdanov’s doctrine on Social Realism. Picasso painted The Charnel House and a series of still lifes and “Vanités”.
1946-1954 : the « joie de vivre »
Picasso painted Monument to the Spanish Who Died For France, which was shown with The Charnel House at the exhibition Art and Resistance at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris (15 February to 15 March).
Picasso and Françoise Gilot started their life together.
In September, Picasso was invited by Romuald Dor de la Souchère, curator at the Museum of Antibes, to set up his studio in a room in Château Grimaldi. He painted some 20 works on Mediterranean themes using Ripolin enamel paint on boards of fibro-cement and plywood which he left in situ and which now make up the municipal collection dedicated to Picasso’s memory and exhibited at the château.
Jaime Sabartès’ Picasso: portraits and souvenirs published by Louis Carré and Maximilien Vox. Alfred H. Barr, director of the MoMA (New York), republished Picasso – Fifty Years of his Art, a revised and extended version of the 1939 catalogue edition, at a time when abstract expressionism, in part influenced by Picasso, was rapidly gaining ground in the New York art world.
Wildlife, cenotaurs and bacchantes recalled the series of paintings produced in Antibes.
Picasso, on the suggestion of Georges Salles (director of the Musées de France agency) and Jean Cassou (director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris), agreed to donate ten important paintings to the Musée National d’Art Moderne.
15 May: Birth of Claude, Françoise Gilot and Picasso’s first child, then the family moved to Golfe-Juan.
Start of an intense ceramics period at the Ramié pottery in Vallauris.
Filmed in Vallauris and at the Museum of Antibes, the Belgian director Paul Haesaerts made his documentary Visite à Picasso about the life and art of Pablo Picasso.
For the first time, works by Picasso were exhibited in Italy, at the Venice Biennale. Picasso moved to La Galloise, a modest villa in the hills of Vallauris.
In August, Picasso and Paul Éluard attended the World Congress of Intellectuals for Peace convened in Wroclaw, Poland, to demand the release of Pablo Neruda, held prisoner in Chile. Visited Krakow and Auschwitz.
Exhibited 149 ceramics pieces at the Maison de la Pensée française, in Paris.
Publishing house Le Chêne published Sculptures de Picasso with words by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and photographs by Dora Maar and Brassaï.
Aragon chose The Dove to illustrate the poster promoting the Congress for Peace being held in April at the Salle Pleyel.
19 April: Birth of Paloma, the second child to Françoise Gilot and Picasso.
Picasso produced a series of large plaster sculptures involving a range of different objects with intrinsic poetic or visual worth and subverted from their standard use: Girl Skipping (MP336), Woman with Baby Carriage (MP337) and Nanny Goat (MP339 and 340). Pursued his fascination with ceramics.
Produced further sculptures of sundry objects (Baboon and Young, MP342).
In November, Picasso won the Stalin Peace Prize.
New exhibition at the Maison de la Pensée française, preface written by Aragon.
Massacre in Korea (MP203), large canvas in a grisaille palette replete with references to Goya, Manet and Puvis de Chavannes. More sculptures inspired by everyday objects.
Visited the recently-opened Chapel of the Rosary in Vence, decorated by Matisse. Important Picasso retrospective held in Tokyo and Osaka.
Pursued his “Vanités” series.
31 March: Execution of the Greek resistance leader Nikos Beloyannis, the subject of a drawing by Picasso: Man with the Carnation (private collection).
The artist was commissioned to decorate an abandoned 14th-century chapel close to the Place du Marché in Vallauris where the sculpture Man with Sheep was installed. Painted the Portrait of Hélène Parmelin, the wife of painter Édouard Pignon, a friend of Picasso. Series of lithographs inspired by Balzac’s Le Père Goriot. Death of Paul Éluard.
Picasso produced several paintings on the theme of The Reader (MP207), which introduced his new technique of large monochrome areas in acidic colours around 1953-1954.
Exhibition Cubism, 1907-1914 held at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris (January-April). The Young Ladies of Avignon was included.
5 March: Death of Stalin. Aragon asked Picasso permission to publish the Portrait of Stalin in the 12-19 March issue of Lettres françaises, causing a scandal.
Picasso retrospective opened at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome (May-July). His War and Peace murals were presented there. The exhibition next toured to Milan and was enriched with several of his essential works, including Guernica, The Charnel House and Massacre in Korea. A Picasso retrospective opened at the Saõ Paulo Museum of Modern Art, featuring Guernica.
Director Luciano Emmer filmed Picasso at his studio in Le Fournas acquired by Picasso in Vallauris, and in the chapel which became known as the “temple of peace”. André Villers and Edward Qwinn also captured the artist in work, through photography.
1954-1967 : Picasso among masters
In July, the Maison de la Pensée française in Paris presented Picasso: two periods, 1900-1914, 1950-1954, in which his paintings in the Shchukin collection are removed from the Soviet museums for the occasion. A week after the exhibition opened, they were removed and returned. As a replacement, Picasso loaned works from his own collection, including a Portrait of Madam Z.
The artist and Jacqueline Roque moved to rue des Grands-Augustins, Paris.
First preparatory drawings for Lunch on the Grass inspired by Manet (MP1882), and Portrait of Eugène Delacroix based on his Self-portrait displayed at the Louvre.
3 November: Death of Henri Matisse.
During the winter, Picasso produced the first drawings in his series of fifteen paintings and two lithographs inspired by Eugène Delacroix’s Women of Algiers (MP1430 to MP1476).
11 February: Olga Picasso died in Cannes.
Important retrospective Picasso: paintings, 1900-1955, exhibited at the Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris, featuring Guernica (June-October). The exhibition later transferred to Munich, Cologne and Hamburg, until April 1956.
Picasso bought a large villa in Cannes, La Californie, built in 1920.
Henri-Georges Clouzot made the film Le Mystère Picasso at the Victorine studios in Nice.
Picasso frequently visited the corrida bullfights in Arles and Nîmes and became friends with the bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguìn.
Picasso returned to the theme of bathers.
David Douglas Duncan began his series of photos of Picasso in his studio and with his family, published in The Private World of Pablo Picasso in 1958.
Le Mystère Picasso by Henri-Georges Clouzot was presented at the Cannes Film Festival.
First Picasso exhibition in Barcelona, at the Sala Gaspar (October).
The artist celebrated his 75th anniversary at the Galerie Madoura with the potters from Vallauris. In Moscow, Ilya Ehrenburg organised an exhibition of works belonging to Russian collections.
Together with Édouard Pignon, Hélène Parmelin and seven other militants, he signed a letter addressed to the PCF’s main committee, declaring their concern about the situation in Hungary, which was published in Le Monde.
Began working on the subject of Vélasquez’ Maids of Honour which continued to the end of the year.
Commissioned to produce a large mural to decorate the UNESCO building in Paris.
The artist created two large sculptures made of rose chamotte clay (Flute Player and Seated Diaulos Player, MP3744 and MP3745). Started a series of sculptures assembled from pieces of recovered wood.
The mural made of ceramic panels based on Picasso’s boxes was installed in the main hall (the ‘Delegates’ Lounge’) of the UNESCO building. Georges Salles, who accepted the composition on behalf of UNESCO, proposed the title, The Fall of Icarus, which replaced the mural’s original title, The Forces of Life and the Spirit Triumphing over Evil.
Purchased Château de Vauvenargues, a 14th-century castle located near Aix-en-Provence, at the foot of Mount Saint-Victoire, an iconic subject in a number of Cézanne paintings.
Penned a long poem in Spanish, Trozo de piel (Hunk of Skin), which was published by the poet Camilo José Cela in 1961.
Started to produce linocuts.
The large bronze he produced in 1941, the Bust of Dora Maar, Monument to Apollinaire, was placed and inaugurated on the Square de Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris.
The artist began researching the variations on Manet’s Lunch on the Grass between August 1959 and December 1961.
Vallauris Chapel, decorated with the murals War and Peace, was officially inaugurated and the place was converted into a national museum.
Produced linoleum cuts on Mediterranean subjects.
With Jacqueline, Luis Dominguin and the actress Lucia Bose, Dominguin’s wife, Picasso appeared in Testament d’Orphée (Testament of Orpheus), a film directed by and starring Jean Cocteau.
Picasso. Retrospective 1895-1959, Tate Gallery in London, 270 works, catalogue written by Roland Penrose.
Jaume Sabartès put forward the idea to open a museum dedicated to Pablo Picasso in Barcelona and donated his personal collection to the city.
2 March: Picasso married Jacqueline Roque in Vallauris at an intimate wedding. They moved to Mougins in June.
Executed painted and cut-out sheet metal sculptures, including, for example, The Chair (MP359), Woman with Open Arms (MP360), Pierrot Seated (MP364 and MP1527) and the Footballer (MP362 and MP363).
Celebrated his 80th birthday in Vallauris.
Publication of Picasso’s Picasso by David Douglas Duncan, revealing the works in the artist’s own personal collection which would form the foundation of the works accepted in lieu on behalf of the Musée National Picasso and chart his trajectory.
1 May: Picasso awarded the Lenin Peace Prize for the second time.
Continued to produce his sheet metal busts. Produced some 70 portraits of Jacqueline using different techniques including painting, drawing, pottery and engraving.
Produced an illustration (MP1533) and painting of the The Abduction of the Sabines by Poussin (one version at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, one at the Nàrodni Gallery in Prague, and another at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland).
The monumental painted-metal sculpture Woman with Open Arms (1960) was enlarged to six metres tall out of cement by Carl Nesjar, for Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler’s garden in Saint-Hilaire. The sculpture was placed in the grounds of the museum in Villeneuve-d’Ascq.
Picasso painted The Capture of the Sabines inspired by David’s original work (Boston, Museum of Fine Arts) and produced 13 variations of Jacqueline’s portrait in the first few days of the year.
The artist started the prolific series of the Painter and His Model, which he continued throughout the year.
Opening of the Museu Picasso in Barcelona on Calle Montcada, in the Palau Palace, a 15th-century palace.
Death of Georges Braque.
Death of Jean Cocteau.
Picasso began a very close collaboration with brothers Aldo and Piero Crommelynck, who moved their intaglio studio to Mougins, to produce etchings. Employed a multitude of bold techniques and mixed processes in his Embraces, series and then his Painter and His Model series (MP2709 to MP2713 and MP2737).
Painted a series of 20 paintings inspired by Manet’s Olympia.
Françoise Gilot, in collaboration with Carlton Lake, published Life with Picasso (New York: McGraw Hill), the French edition published by Calman-Lévy in 1965.
Resumed his focus on engraving, notably with the use of coloured “soft varnish”.
Completed the model for the Bust sculpture intended for the Civic Art Center in Chicago inspired by his 1962 Bust of Woman. The final version, made of steel and measuring 20 metres tall, was inaugurated in 1967.
This was followed by long series of paintings on the Painter and His Model (MP1990-31), which carried on into the following year, as well as the themes of the Painter and the Bust of Man, forming the continuation of multiple self-portraits featuring the artist’s face.
Gallimard published Brassaï’s Conversations with Picasso, illustrated with photographs by the author.
Inspired by Rembrandt’s Hendrickje Stoffels (1654, London, National Gallery), Picasso produced the large provocative canvas La Pisseuse (The Pee’er) (Paris, Musée National d’Art Moderne).
Introduced new themes into his painting: man carrying a child, family, man eating watermelons.
In November, the artist underwent surgery for an ulcer at the American Hospital in Neuilly and spent his last time in Paris.
Carl Nesjar produced larger models (MP1831 to MP1848) in cement of the figures in the Lunch on the Grass which were subsequently placed in the grounds of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm.
Illustrated and painted figures of the Musketeers, inspired by the gentlemen in the Spanish Golden Age portrayed by Vélasquez.
Series of black and colour illustrations in a notebook (MP1990-116) featuring figures, erotic drawings and burlesque scenes, or graphically commenting on the large Ingres painting Jupiter and Thetis.
28 September: Death of André Breton.
Homage to Picasso exhibition organised by Jean Leymarie at the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, in Paris. Inauguration by André Malraux, France’s Minister of Culture since 1959 (November). The exhibition unveiled a number of sculptures produced by the artist to the general public.
The artist refused to accept the Legion of Honour medal, the highest decoration in France.
Picasso was evicted from his Parisian studio on Rue des Grands-Augustins which he had occupied since 1937.
Picasso continued with his Busts of Musketeers series.
The Painter and His Model (MP1990-32) series, which for the very first time featured the characteristic Rembrandtesque figures particularly inspired by the painting Rembrandt and Saskia.
Exhibition Picasso: Sculptures, Ceramics, Graphic Work at the Tate Gallery in London, curated by Roland Penrose (June-August), subsequently presented at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (October 1967-January 1968).
Picasso produced the large painting The Couple (MP1990-33), that departed from the Rembrandt inspiration to make way for a major follow-on from the Couple and Embrace which dominated Picasso’s oeuvre until his death.
1968-1973 : final years
TPaintings on the theme of the Nude with Bird (Cologne, Museum Ludwig) and drawings on the Turkish Bath (Paris, Musée du Louvre, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, The Turkish Bath, 1862).
Jaime Sabartès died and so to honour his memory, Picasso donated all of his Las Meninas (The Maids of Honour) series (58 paintings) and a portrait of Sabartès dating from his Blue period to the Museu Picasso in Barcelona.
The artist then completed his 347 engravings dealing with complex iconographic themes, combining references to the circus, the corrida, the theatre and the commedia dell’arte, including erotic scenes inspired by the Ingres painting Raphael and the Fornarina. The 347 engravings were printed by the Crommelynck brothers in their Mougins studio.
Picasso entered an intense period of painting during which he produced some 165 works in a year (between 5 January 1969 and 2 February 1970), the subjects including portraits, couples, nudes, men with swords, smokers and still lifes.
Publication of The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, with words by Picasso written sometime between 6 January 1957 and 20 August 1959, and a prologue by Rafael Alberti (published by Gustavo Gili and Ediciones de la Cometa, Barcelona). This “literary fantasy” by Picasso was accompanied by a series of illustrations by the artist, including a burin engraving, 12 etchings and three aquatints selected from works produced between 1966 and 1967.
Picasso donated to the Museu Picasso in Barcelona works left to his family dating from the early days of his career and produced in La Coruña then in Barcelona, together with pieces realised in 1917 during his time with the Ballets Russes.
Exhibition Picasso 1969-1970 at the Palais des Papes in Avignon. The event organised by Yvonne Zervos brought together 167 paintings and 45 drawings. Christian Zervos designed the installation and wrote the catalogue preface. The exhibition caused a public outcry. Picasso’s recent paintings displayed in two parallel rows, with his virulent colour palette, erotic subjects and huge sizes were once again misunderstood.
Death of Christian Zervos shortly after the death of his wife Yvonne.
Picasso painted without interruption until his death a series of large paintings combining the many themes he studied throughout his lifetime.
Picasso donated 57 drawings produced between 15 December 1970 and 4 February 1971 to the Musée Réattu in Arles.
In October, to celebrate Picasso’s 90th birthday, a selection of works from French public collections was presented in the Louvre’s Grande Galerie.
Picasso donated Guitar (1912), his first metal construction, to William Rubin to exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. For the occasion, he revealed the original of the Guitar, made out of cardboard (New York, The Museum of Modern Art).
Series of illustrated self-portraits, where the head is displayed as a mask or a skull with bulging eyes (MP1982-160).
Produced drawings of reclining nudes, obscenely arranging provocative old odalisques conveying the corruption of the flesh and the destruction of appearances: Nude in an Armchair (MP1544), Nude (MP1542) and Nude Woman and Musketeer (MP1540).
8 April: Picasso died at his farmhouse Notre-Dame-de-Vie in Mougins.
The exhibition Pablo Picasso, 1970-1972 at the Palais des Papes in Avignon (catalogue prefaced by René Char) allowed the public to discover the last works selected by the artist himself for the show (23 May-23 September).