Category: Surrealism

Salvador Dali and Rose Meditative

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Salvador Dali and Rose Meditative

Dalí, May 11, 1904, in Spain’s Catalonia region located in the town of Figueres, Salvador Dalí and Felipa Domenech Ferres i Cusí couple’s second child came into the world. The couple’s first child was born in 1901, Dalí’s birth, nine months and ten days ago (August 1, 1903), died of inflammation of the digestive tract, it is a name that Salvador had been the second child.

The first children at a young age to die a kind of acceptance can not Dalí couple of small Dali by frequent dead brother talking about the first Salvador’s a picture of the bedroom walls of the sheds, and Dalí’yle together regularly for the first Salvador’s tomb visits were. This, in Dalí’s early years led to confusion about their identity. Later, I did not know about his brother “were alike as two drops of water, but reflected was different. It was probably my first version was designed to be more positive.” I would write.

Dali’s father, a notary public was tough and authoritarian character. Unlike the full understanding and compassionate mother and son had given support to the efforts of the painting. Dali’s sister Ana María was born three years old. House as the only male child, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, friends and carers of interest from the permanent Dalí, spoiled and capricious since a young age began to display a character.

1914 with the support of his mother to a special school post pictures of the Dali opened his first exhibition at the Municipal Theater in Figueres in 1919. In February 1921 of his beloved mother died of breast cancer. About his mother’s death “was the biggest blow I received in my life. I used to adore him. There may make my soul will not appear inevitable flaws always accept the loss of a being I could not trust.” I would write. Dali’s father, shortly after the death of his wife’s sister married.

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The Lesson by Pablo Picasso

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The Lesson by Pablo Picasso

Figurative Art, fine art posters, Pablo Picasso, pablo picasso posters, picasso posters, Spanish Art, the lesson art print

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Pablo Picasso: The Formative Years

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Woman with a Blue Hat by Pablo Picasso

Max Jacob said that Picasso and his friends were determined to make ‘beaucoup de pastiches volontaires pour être sûr de n’en pas faire d’involontaires’. Yet pastiche is hardly the word for the imaginative transformations which are illustrated. Whereas the young Degas, Manet or Van Gogh often copied literally works which they admired, Picasso after his early youth more frequently used other pictures as starting points for the creation of something very different.

There was an element of personal daring and perhaps of Andalusian panache in this independence of the model. An old friend of Picasso, remembers him coming into ‘Els Quatre Gats’ in 1901 and setting down on one side a copy he had just made in Madrid from part of ‘ Las Meninas’ and on the other his own ‘Dancer’, saying, ‘ Velasquez did that, Picasso did that’. Even earlier he was resolved not to be the slave of any one master, and wrote to a friend from Madrid in 1897, ‘I am against following a determined school as it brings out nothing but the mannerism of those who follow this way’.

Picasso’s constant traffic with other artists’ styles was partly the normal method of a young painter teaching himself his trade, carried to abnormal lengths by his tremendous power of imitation — he was able to use, transform or mock the idiom of others with a skill that reminds one of James Joyce (and since he could imitate everybody it was tempting to do so). But he was also interested in the different languages of art for their own sake, just as many early twentieth century writers had the habit of juggling with a variety of older styles.

Obvious examples of this tendency in literature were Picasso’s friend Max Jacob, whose poetry was full of parodies and reminiscences, or du Plessys, a follower of Moréas, who could write at will in the style of the Song of Roland, Villon, Jehan de Meung and others. A little earlier, Laforgue Complainte de Lord Pierrot begins with an ironic parody of Au clair de la lune, and later Joyce, Pound and Eliot were to make similar parodies.

All this seems very far from the nineteenth century and from Cézanne’s ‘We must give the image of what we see, forgetting everything that has appeared before our time’, for Picasso was a highly conceptual painter, more often excited by ideas or by the works of other artists than by that direct, prolonged and intense contact with the object that inspired Cézanne. His friends Mir and Raynal both confirm this, and the latter wrote, ‘ Picasso looked for the essence of things in other works of art, and he realised that in order to distil this essence himself, the most advanced starting point was not reality and nature but the work of other artists.

This is one reason for studying his early friendships and milieu in some detail. Other reasons are the great historical importance of ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’, the strange, disquieting and experimental picture to which the work of all these years leads up, and the fact that Picasso, who was popular and had his choice of companions, chose to live in Paris amongst poets who were nearly all men distinguished or interesting in their own right. The ‘Modernists’ of Barcelona as well as Max Jacob, André Salmon and Guillaume Apollinaire were all lively and original characters who had a considerable impact upon Picasso’s development.

But to turn for inspiration from nature to the work of other artists was only in part a matter of temperament. The fact that it rarely occurred to Picasso in these years to paint realistically in the nineteenth-century sense of the word, although his earliest works had shown that he was capable of doing so, is of course connected with the literary, philosophical and artistic reaction against the Naturalists, who well before the turn of the century were considered stodgy and vieux jeu both in Paris and among the ‘Modernists’ of Barcelona. Courbet’s conviction that ‘Le beau donné par la nature est supérieur à toutes les conventions de l’artiste’ was rejected, in part because it was based on the discredited doctrine of Positivism; and Schopenhauer’s works, well-known in Barcelona, helped to popularise the idea that nature is only an appearance.

Maurice Denis, who was influential in the club of San Luc in Barcelona, and probably had some effect on the simplified rhythm and the sentiment of Picasso’s ‘Maternités’, wrote that ‘l’art, au lieu d’être la copie, devient la déformation subjective de la nature’. Denis was also highly indignant against the master who criticised his idealised nude study by saying ‘Vous ne coucheriez pas avec cette femme-là’. Some of the mediaevalists in Barcelona felt so strongly against satirical naturalism that they tore up the French comic paper Gil Blas.

Picasso’s choice of books showed a similar anti-realist taste. Raynal, writing probably of about 1905, said that Picasso owned the works of Rimbaud, Verlaine and Mallarmé, but no naturalist or psychological novels, which he detested. Mallarmé and Rimbaud both frequently declared that the true subject of art was the idea, the general, and not life’s particularity. This incidentally fitted in, or was made to fit in, with Gauguin’s synthesism and his linear simplifications.

Completely alien both to these writers and to Picasso was that affection for the unique, fleeting and particularised aspects of nature which made Constable date his cloud studies, adding the exact time of day and the direction of wind, or Duranty’s belief that in rendering a man’s back view one should show his age, temperament and social status. Picasso’s preference for more timeless and generalised subjects may be partly responsible for the choice of such ritual figures as mother and child, harlequin or clown. We know also that Picasso liked the works of the Catalan poet Juan Maragall which were published in 1906 just before the artist went to Gosol when he translated one into French. Like many Catalans of the time Maragall was more interested in German literature than in naturalism and he translated Novalis The Blue Flower into Catalan.

In turning away from the naturalism of his predecessors Picasso was also reacting against the practice of his own father. Apparently he told Sabartés that the latter painted ‘dining-room pictures’. ‘Fur and feathers, pigeons and lilac, together with an occasional landscape completed his repertoire. He was happiest when he could make his feathered models symbolic of moral or sentimental drama, as in his painting of a happy couple perched on the threshold of their pigeon-house, while a third party, ruffled with jealousy, spies on them from below.’ Naturally, the father could not at first reconcile himself to his son’s novelties. The painter Bernareggi declares that when he and Picasso were studying together in Madrid in 1897, they would send home their copies to Picasso’s father. If these were of Velasquez, Goya or the Venetians all was well, but when they sent copies of El Greco he replied severely, ‘You are following the bad way’.

Anti-realism was only one of many characteristics that fin-de-sièle, ‘decadent’ or symbolist movements had in common, but the atmosphere differed from country to country. Barcelona with its particular brand of modernism was important to Picasso’s development long after he first visited Paris at the end of 1900; for it must be remembered that Picasso crossed the Pyrenees seven times before he settled in Paris in April 1904.

In Paris he lived at first almost entirely amongst Spaniards from Barcelona and could not speak French. Even in the Rue Ravignan from 1904 onwards his old friends constantly visited him. Gertrude Stein and others have rightly perceived the Spanish basis of the Blue Period, even though this began in Paris shortly before his departure for Barcelona in December 1901 and owed something to Gauguin, Maurice Denis, Carrière and Van Gogh. His friend Nonell’s drawings are probably the forerunners of many of the crouching, outcast figures painted in the years 1902-4.

The Nietzschean writer and dramatist Jaime Brossa compared the artistic climate of Barcelona to hearing, in a fin-de-siècle café, a Ballade of Chopin and the ‘Marseillaise’ being played at the same time. This exciting ferment of literary and political insurgence must have had some effect on the parallel if unconnected extravagances of Gaudi and Picasso. ( Picasso, it may be said in parentheses, admired Gaudi as a curiosity but never met him; the architect was thirty years senior, a bigoted Catholic and member of the rival club of San Luc, disapproving strongly of the atheist, anarchist and Bohemian ‘Els Quatre Gats’.)

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Pablo Picasso: Catalan Modernismo

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Blue Nude, c.1902 .by Pablo Picasso

The version of the international fin-de-sièle movement flourishing in Barcelona emphasised ‘Sturm und Drang’, a Nietzschean energy and defiance of the bourgeois rather than the lilies and langours of Swinburne and Burne-Jones or the pessimistic irony of Laforgue. There was more vitality and toughness in Barcelona than in England (or France), partly because of the strenuous political movements and the fiery anarchism and separatism of Catalonia, which incidentally increased the popularity of the Middle Ages as the time of her grandeur and autonomy before the centralising policy of Ferdinand and Isabella.

When Picasso was first living in Barcelona hardly a year passed without a bomb outrage, and there was considerable feeling in favour of the prisoners detained in the fortress of Montjuich after one of these incidents. The hardships of the soldiers returning from the Cuban war also aroused popular sympathy and were probably the subject of one of the drawings of Picasso’s friend Nonell. We shall see from Picasso’s own works, such as the drawing of an anarchist meeting, that he was affected by this social unrest as well as by the poverty of his own family.

Perhaps the most obvious feature of the Catalan ‘Modernismo’ was an obsession with everything northern. Rusiñol even described ‘Els Quatre Gats’, which was modelled on a Montmartre café, as ‘a Gothic tavern for those in love with the North’. In the reviews to which Picasso contributed, such as Pel i Ploma, Joventut and Catalunya Artistica, there were frequently translations from German literature and articles on Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. From 1900 onwards an Asociación. Wagneriana, modelled on one in Munich, used to meet in ‘Els Quatre Gats’, and there were frequent performances of the operas, notably Siegfried and Tristan and Isolde. The new avant-garde theatres produced plays by Ibsen and Maeterlinck, most often Ghosts and The Intruder, which had an obsessive attraction for Picasso’s generation.

There was a natural link between the plays of Ibsen, Hauptmann, Strindberg and Björnson, exalting heroic individual action and the ‘vitalismo’ of Nietzsche. Nietzsche, probably the greatest intellectual influence of the time, came as an antidote to the numbing determinism of the Materialists, the cult of pity in Tolstoy and of death and pessimism in Wagner and Schopenhauer. A friend of Picasso has said that before he was seventeen he had read most of the works of Nietzsche and that this was characteristic of his companions in ‘Els Quatre Gats’. According to him Picasso took most of his knowledge of Nietzsche from Maragall. and from the rather banal poet Joan Oliva Bridgman, two of whose works Picasso was commissioned to illustrate.

Nietzsche was first introduced into Barcelona by Pompeyo Gener.Gener, born in 1848, took a medical degree in Paris and produced poetry, plays and translations. In spite of his age he was on the staff of Joventut and published numerous translations, extracts and articles on Nietzsche, including a long article, ‘Arte Dionisiaco’, on his death in 1900. Gener emphasised the need for men to be heroic and to reflect the rhythm of the universe, becoming fiery, revolutionary and progressive. Another disciple, Jaime Brossa, who had at one time been forced to flee to London because of his anti-militarism, extracted from Nietzsche’s works creeds which he called ‘the great Excelsior of the twentieth century’ and the ‘cult of the me’, adopting Nietzsche’s anti-Christian, anti-bourgeois, anti-Philistine teaching.

Nietzsche’s doctrine probably reinforced Picasso’s temperamental unwillingness to be a good apprentice, like Matisse, with steady artistic aims. His inclination towards constant changes of style would have fitted in with Nietzsche’s belief that art proceeds by violent explosions. The Nietzschean cult of unhindered self-expression and contempt for Philistine and bourgeois values may have helped Picasso to disregard criticism and with ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ even to invite it. Leo Stein describes Picasso as late as about 1905 in a Nietzschean mood, perhaps in jest, raging at a bus queue on the grounds that the strong should go ahead and take what they want. Nietzsche also condemned hedonism and sensuous art, and this became the creed of Picasso’s friends in opposition to that of the Nabis and Fauves.

The optimistic view about the future of art current in Barcelona — that it was eternally evolving towards perfection and that everyone was waiting on the threshold of the twentieth century for the appearance of a great new style of art — probably also owed something to Germany. The spread of Hegelianism, German historicism and contemporary ideas of progress perhaps encouraged such critics as Picasso’s friend Junyent to declare that it was impossible to resurrect any past style and that ‘the nineteenth century has died with the consolation of seeing on the horizon of the infinite the splendour of a great art, an elevated art, strong, complicated, earthy and spiritual’. This kind of belief created a favourable climate for producing experimental art; it was apparently not spoilt for Picasso and his friends by the fact that Junyent proceeded to declare that Turner, Rossetti, Holman Hunt and Millais had reached the highest point ever achieved by painting.

Two of Picasso’s early illustrations, ‘La Boija’ and ‘El Clam de las Verges’, seem akin to the world of another northerner, Edvard Munch (1863-1944), particularly to his work inspired by the morality dispute of 1885, which centred on questions of sexual ethics, raised by the controversial novel From Christiana’s Bohemia, written by Munch’s friend Hans Jagers. On a visit to Paris in 1889-90, where he was influenced by Gauguin, Munch had written, ‘No longer paint interiors with men reading and women knitting. There must be living beings who breathe and feel and love and suffer… People would understand the sacredness of them and take off their hats as if they were in church.’ The works produced in this spirit which are most akin to Picasso’s early illustrations were executed in Germany round about 1895.

Examples are the pictures of women brooding alone in rooms, like the characters depicted in the plays of Ibsen and Munch’s friend Strindberg, such as ‘The Morning After’, ‘Puberty’ (1894) or the ‘Frieze of Life’ although Picasso did not apparently know them at this period. The long faces drawn by Picasso in the Barcelona period such as ‘The Mad Woman’ or ‘The Old Man and Young Woman’ do resemble Munch, but they could have had other sources, such as El Greco or Dario de Regoyos who collaborated with Verhaeren in a book called España Negra which Picasso planned to imitate. In any case Catalan artists such as Casas, Rusiñol and Picasso’s friend Nonell, who went to France, may easily have brought back German editions of Munch’s graphic art.

Moreover Stuck’s silhouettes in Jugend and Paul Riethes’ diseuses are somewhat like those of Picasso in the Barcelona Museum and like the works of his friends Pichot and Opisso. The links between Munich and Barcelona at this time were strong, as can be seen from Picasso’s letter of 1897 when he writes, ‘If I had a son who wanted to be a painter I would not keep him in Spain a moment, and do not imagine I would send him to Paris but to Munik… as it is a city where painting is studied seriously without regard to fixed ideas of any sort such as pointillism and all the rest’.

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Picasso Art: Sympathy with the Poor Isidro Nonell

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Tete d’une Femme Lisant by Pablo Picasso

In Barcelona there were already signs of the fierce and humanitarian Picasso, who was later roused to paint ‘Guernica’ and ‘War and Peace’ and to declare: ‘Painting is not done to decorate houses. It is an instrument of war for attack and defence against the enemy.’ His old Catalan friends say that he was an anarchist at this time, and his rather primitive drawing of an anarchist meeting was probably sketched from direct observation. The members of the group who met in ‘Els Quatre Gats’ had the same sympathies and wore trousers narrowing at the ankles, copied from those of anarchist agitators.

From 1895 onwards an anarchist journal, Ciencia Social, published, amongst other things, cartoons of Daumier and works by Millet and Courbet, and Joventut too, nearly always began with a long article on political and regional grievances. The works of Bakunin were well-known and Joventut carried advertisements for those of Kropotkin. The achievements of the Modernists took place against a background not only of bombs but of suppression. All the works of Maeterlinck and d’Annunzio were condemned by the Church, and Hauptmann Die Weber was banned from the stage because the workmen in it broke up a factory. Picasso and his friends may well have known the printed version of the play, with illustrations by Käthe Kollwitz.

Picasso had studios in the same building, and more than once Picasso drew Nonell’s portrait. Their influence on each other may have been mutual. There are works of Nonell from 1902 onwards which seem to derive from Picasso, but in earlier years Nonell was probably the originator. His ‘Grupo de Pobres’, dated 1899, with its miserable figures huddled in profile along the corner of a building, looks back to Goya and Daumier and forward to Picasso’s hunched, seated figures of 1902.

His solitary figure of 1901-2 (published in Pel i Ploma in January 1902) resemble those of Picasso’s Blue Period in motive, composition and the use of heavy, limp folds of drapery and are roughly contemporary with them, for though Picasso’s Blue Period began in Paris in late 1901, the most characteristic and the most Nonellian works of this phase were painted later, and this is especially true of his paintings of beggars sitting on the ground. The works done in Paris in late 1901 are mostly of people with their elbows on a café table, like ‘Le Bock’, or portraits, or the ‘Maternités’ which owe so much to Maurice Denis and Carrière.

Such works as ‘La Femme assise au Capuchon!, painted after Picasso’s return to Barcelona, seem to derive in part at least from Nonell’s early work. That this fact has not been more usually recognised may be due to a coolness which, according to some writers, later sprang up between Picasso and Nonell, but their relation must have been close, since Nonell at one time chose to live in the bateau-lavoir where Picasso was already settled.

In the motives both for Nonell’s crucial visit to Bohí and in many of the contributions to Arte Joven, the cult of the primitive was mixed with sympathy for peasants and the poor. Primitivism was an international taste, rooted in English romanticism, in the writings of Rousseau, and in the doctrines of David’s pupils, who called themselves les Primitifs. It was a revulsion against civilisation, stimulated in the second half of the nineteenth century by a growing dislike of industrialism and a feeling that men had not always so recklessly squandered their lives in pursuit of the means of life. It was the motive behind the mediaevalism of William Morris and Gauguin’s move to Tahiti; it finds a voice in Van Gogh’s letters; and earlier it had led Courbet’s friend Champfleury to collect popular songs and broadsheets and to write, ‘The idol cut on a tree-trunk by savages is nearer to Michelangelo’s “Moses” than most of the statues in the annual Salons’.

In Barcelona it particularly took the form of reviving old and popular Catalan music, which culminated in the foundation of the Orfeó Català and in the works of Morera. A common saying of the time was, ‘The songs of the people are the songs of God’. The old tales of the countryside also attracted attention and affected such works as Senties’s story of the Mad Woman illustrated by Picasso. The puppet shows held in ‘Els Quatre Gats’, though ostensibly designed to attract children, seem to have been taken very seriously by the regular customers, and the puppet was praised in Rousseau-like terms as ‘man denuded of all conventions, with all the good instincts of a new-born animal’.

Picasso Arte Joven shared this love of the child-like and primitive. One of the sonnets by Miguel de Unamuno selected for the first number begins: ‘I return to thee my childhood, as Antaeus returned to earth to regain his strength’. In an item called ‘Our Aesthetic’ the quotation chosen from Goethe is: ‘The true poet receives his knowledge of the world from nature, and to depict it he does not need great experience or great technique’.

Already a writer on architecture had declared in Barcelona that learning and experience are less vital than spontaneity and instinct, and this feeling, no doubt, played a part in the current revival of Catalan Romanesque and Gothic art. All this is certainly important for opening the way to Negro sculpture in Picasso’s mind, and it may also have some bearing on the fact that there are at least sixteen works of 1901 by Picasso in which children figure, including the well-known ‘L’Enfant au. Pigeon’, ‘Le Gourmand’ and the somewhat primitive ‘La Soupe’.

Picasso’s social ideas can best be illustrated from Arte Joven, the short-lived magazine of which he was joint-editor in Madrid in early 1901, since he probably had more influence on its contents than he had had on any publication in Barcelona. It is significant that the only paper over which he had control should be one with social and political leanings. The editors of Arte Joven adopted a tone of defiance. ‘We know that the gilded youth of Madrid and the illustrious ladies of the aristocracy do not like Arte Joven! That pleases us immensely.’

The first number showed a group of peasants, marching heavily under the weight of their misery. There was also a somewhat ‘extreme’ article which asserted that men should abstain from voting since it only fortifies the injustice of the state. The great necessity is ‘to kill the law’, a concept which must already have been familiar to Picasso in the moral field from such poems as Bridgman Cry of the Virgins which he had already illustrated. Arte Joven also published a poem by Alberto Lozano condemning the rich and idle, the sense of which was, ‘If you do not work and fulfil God’s command to Adam you are not my brother or God’s son’. There were also the inevitable articles on Nietzsche. It was characteristic of Picasso’s feeling for social outlaws that, soon after his visit to Madrid, he did a Munch-like drawing of a man resembling himself handcuffed between two gendarmes.

Probably the first Spanish painter of the time to show the poor with realism and compassion, rather than as the stock, picturesque beggars of traditional genre, was Isidro Nonell (1873-1911). Some time just before 1900 he lent his studio to Picasso, who was eight years younger, and it is almost certain that his works influenced the paintings of the Blue Period in both style and content. Nonell, the son of a man who made pasta for soup, began as a plein-air painter, but soon reacted both from Impressionism and from what was called ‘la sweetness inglés’ (presumably the Pre-Raphaelite sentimentality of Brull and de Riquer).

In 1896 he went to Bohí, in the Pyrenees, and made studies of the Crétins living there, which he worked up into paintings later shown in the Salon of La Vanguardia in Paris and in ‘Els Quatre Gats’. Nonell made use here of expressive deformations and the simplified closed silhouette which is so often employed by Picasso in his Blue Period. His contour lines are heavy and dramatic; there are strong reminiscences of Japanese prints and of Daumier, whose work he could have seen in the pages of Gil Blas. The woman huddled over her baby is a kind of caricature without malice. It was, of course, not till much later that Picasso turned to this kind of theme. At this time, when he was only fifteen, he confined himself almost entirely to depicting his family or street and café scenes, and was about to go to Madrid where he made copies in the Prado.

In 1897 Nonell went to Paris, held an exhibition at the Le Barc de Bouteville Gallery, and was compared by enthusiastic critics to Edgar Allan Poe. Judging by his later works he must also have studied the art of Van Gogh and Daumier. On his return to Barcelona he made some impressive drawings of the miserable people repatriated after the Cuban War, one of which, a dragging line of figures, is reminiscent of Van Gogh’s ‘Prison Yard’. About this time Nonell and Picasso had studios in the same building, and more than once Picasso drew Nonell’s portrait. Their influence on each other may have been mutual.

There are works of Nonell from 1902 onwards which seem to derive from Picasso, but in earlier years Nonell was probably the originator. His ‘Grupo de Pobres’, dated 1899, with its miserable figures huddled in profile along the corner of a building, looks back to Goya and Daumier and forward to Picasso’s hunched, seated figures of 1902. His solitary figure of 1901-2, published in Pel i Ploma in January 1902) resemble those of Picasso’s Blue Period in motive, composition and the use of heavy, limp folds of drapery and are roughly contemporary with them, for though Picasso’s Blue Period began in Paris in late 1901, the most characteristic and the most Nonellian works of this phase were painted later, and this is especially true of his paintings of beggars sitting on the ground.

The works done in Paris in late 1901 are mostly of people with their elbows on a café table, like ‘Le Bock’, or portraits, or the ‘Maternités’ which owe so much to Maurice Denis and Carrière. Such works as ‘La Femme assise au Capuchon!, painted after Picasso’s return to Barcelona, seem to derive in part at least from Nonell’s early work. That this fact has not been more usually recognised may be due to a coolness which, according to some writers, later sprang up between Picasso and Nonell, but their relation must have been close, since Nonell at one time chose to live in the bateau-lavoir where Picasso was already settled.

In the motives both for Nonell’s crucial visit to Bohí and in many of the contributions to Arte Joven, the cult of the primitive was mixed with sympathy for peasants and the poor. Primitivism was an international taste, rooted in English romanticism, in the writings of Rousseau, and in the doctrines of David’s pupils, who called themselves les Primitifs. It was a revulsion against civilisation, stimulated in the second half of the nineteenth century by a growing dislike of industrialism and a feeling that men had not always so recklessly squandered their lives in pursuit of the means of life.

It was the motive behind the mediaevalism of William Morris and Gauguin’s move to Tahiti; it finds a voice in Van Gogh’s letters; and earlier it had led Courbet’s friend Champfleury to collect popular songs and broadsheets and to write, ‘The idol cut on a tree-trunk by savages is nearer to Michelangelo’s “Moses” than most of the statues in the annual Salons’. In Barcelona it particularly took the form of reviving old and popular Catalan music, which culminated in the foundation of the Orfeó Català and in the works of Morera.

A common saying of the time was, ‘The songs of the people are the songs of God’. The old tales of the countryside also attracted attention and affected such works as Senties’s story of the Mad Woman illustrated by Picasso. The puppet shows held in ‘Els Quatre Gats’, though ostensibly designed to attract children, seem to have been taken very seriously by the regular customers, and the puppet was praised in Rousseau-like terms as ‘man denuded of all conventions, with all the good instincts of a new-born animal’.

Picasso Arte Joven shared this love of the child-like and primitive. One of the sonnets by Miguel de Unamuno selected for the first number begins: ‘I return to thee my childhood, as Antaeus returned to earth to regain his strength’. In an item called ‘Our Aesthetic’ the quotation chosen from Goethe is: ‘The true poet receives his knowledge of the world from nature, and to depict it he does not need great experience or great technique’.

Already a writer on architecture had declared in Barcelona that learning and experience are less vital than spontaneity and instinct, and this feeling, no doubt, played a part in the current revival of Catalan Romanesque and Gothic art. All this is certainly important for opening the way to Negro sculpture in Picasso’s mind, and it may also have some bearing on the fact that there are at least sixteen works of 1901 by Picasso in which children figure, including the well-known ‘L’Enfant au. Pigeon’, ‘Le Gourmand’ and the somewhat primitive ‘La Soupe’.

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Pablo Picasso: First Visit to Paris, 1900

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Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso

Picasso’s immediate motive for visiting Paris in 1900 was probably the Universal Exhibition; his first visits lasted from October to Christmas 1900 and from April to December 1901.

Almost at once his pictures became much brighter in colour and less literary in content, just as Van Gogh’s had done some fourteen years earlier. Sabartés writes of ‘the bright colours which blazed in his mind on discovering the lighting effects of the foot-lights and the coloured spot-lights used in cabaret performances’. This brightness was probably also due to the many Impressionist and Post-Impressionist pictures he was now able to see for the first time otherwise than in black-and-white reproductions or in the pastiches of Casas and Rusiñol.

Many of his works also have Impressionist themes; there are studies of flowers, of streets in Montmartre, of the Boulevard do Clichy and of mothers with their children in public gardens. One may suppose that Picasso at this time was absorbed in digesting the intense new experiences afforded by Paris and its galleries, and we know from Sabartés that on his return to Barcelona he missed them. ‘Naturally we went to the Salón Parés for there was no other exhibition to go to, but it seemed to us shallow when compared with our memories of Paris.’

During Picasso’s early visits to Paris the paintings of the Nabis were much in evidence. But the snug petit bourgeois life which they depicted and their interest in the sensuous surface of the world and in the play of light had comparatively little attraction for Picasso. In a sense they could be called the Mannerists of Impressionism, content as they were to develop and play variations on old themes, while Picasso felt the need for a new art appropriate to the new century.

It is significant that the literary contacts of the Nabis and the world of La Revue Blanche were somewhat archaising and looked back to the nineteenth century, whereas Picasso’s poet friends Jacob, and later Apollinaire and Salmon were more revolutionary and had all learnt something from the violent novelties of Jarry. Picasso was not quite untouched by the work of Bonnard and his friends, and their influence is probably detectable in his treatment of such subjects as race-meetings and bull-fights and perhaps in ‘Le Tub’, but on the whole Picasso did not forget the world he had left behind him and paid more attention to painters of the sordid and disinherited, such as Lautrec, Gauguin and in 1901 Van Gogh.

Lautrec’s well-known influence on Picasso has already been discussed. Reviewers of his exhibition at Vollard’s in June 1901 accused him of imitating this artist and this criticism may be partly responsible for the emergence of a new, more personal style towards the end of 1901. Gauguin had more to offer — a revolt against the tyranny of naturalism in favour of ‘le centre mystérieux de la pensée’, a clear-cut style not too difficult to assimilate and a picturesque life which had made concrete the current aspirations towards savagery and primitivism.

We know from Sabartés that Picasso and his friends discussed Gauguin with excitement, that Picasso owned and drew in Noa Noa, and also that their friend the sculptor Paco Durio had been a friend and disciple of Gauguin and owned several of his paintings and wood-carvings, some from the Brittany period. Although Picasso’s work is more obviously indebted to that of Gauguin in the Blue Period, in the idyllic classical phase of 1905 and in the trend towards the savage and primitive which followed, the heavy outlines of ‘L’Enfant au Pigeon’, ‘Clown’ and ‘Arlequin Accoudé’, all of 1901, have a Gauguinesque quality, as have several drawings of nude women crouched on the ground.

A large Daurmer exhibition was held at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in 1901, extending to over 470 items, but this was not Picasso’s first opportunity to see his work. He was represented in the Exposition Centennale of French Art in 1900 by thirty-five works, which included ‘Saltimbanques’, street-singers, laundresses and emigrants. Max Jacob had lithographs by Daumier which he gave to Picasso, and Manyac, Picasso’s first dealer, sold some to Berthe Weill, who was his second.

Picasso sketched a Daumier-like group of drunkards as early as 1900 and the similarity of Picasso’s ‘Les Fugitifs’ to Daurmer’s ‘Les Emigrants’, which was shown at the big exhibition of 1901, is too great to be accidental. Daurmer’s strongly outlined, silhouetted figures, which almost give the effect of stained glass, may have contributed something to Picasso’s style, and many of his subjects such as laundresses, mountebanks, mothers with sick children, spectators in a theatre and beggars occur in Picasso’s work. It is hard to distinguish between Picasso’s debts to Daumier and to Steinlen in his use of these themes, but the influence of the former is undeniable, and Picasso’s tragic clowns and pierrots are likely to have been suggested by Daumier rather than by Cézanne’s ‘Mardi-Gras’.

Picasso has told Roland Penrose that in 1901 the influence of Van Gogh was greater upon him than that of any other painter. This is particularly interesting, since at that time Van Gogh’s letters were practically unknown, his early works, which would have attracted Picasso by their subject-matter, were still in Holland, and even in 1902 Leo Stein, who had been introduced to the works of Cézanne by Berenson, had never heard of Van Gogh. Picasso, however, had probably been introduced to Van Gogh’s art by Nonell and could have seen his works with Bernheim Jeune and Vollard. Both these dealers had tragic self-portraits of Van Gogh which might have provided the stimulus for Picasso’s portrait of himself unshaven.

Some of Picasso’s vigorous close-up portraits of this year, such as that of Gustave Coquiot, and a very un-idealised ‘Femme hue étendue sur un lit’ are rather like Van Gogh, especially in the hatching; the increased feeling of compassion towards the end of the year may also be connected with the Dutch master. Picasso seems to have agreed with Van Gogh that ‘Les gens sont la racine de tout’ and at this time and later in his career he concentrated even more exclusively than the Dutchman on works with human figures to the exclusion of landscape and still life.

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Girl with Red Beret by Pablo Picasso

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Girl with Red Beret by Pablo Picasso

Picasso’s Rose Period

The Rose Period lasted from 1904 to 1906.[2] Picasso was happy in his relationship with Fernande Olivier whom he had met in 1904 and this has been suggested as one of the possible reasons he changed his style of painting. Harlequins, circus performers and clowns appear frequently in the Rose Period and populated Picasso’s paintings at various stages throughout the rest of his long career. The harlequin, a comedic character usually depicted in checkered patterned clothing, became a personal symbol for Picasso.

The Rose Period has been considered French influenced, while the Blue Period more Spanish influenced, although both styles emerged while Picasso was living in Paris. Picasso’s Blue Period began in late 1901, following the death of his friend Carlos Casagemas and the onset of a bout of major depression.[3] It lasted until 1904, when Picasso’s psychological condition improved. The Rose Period is named after Picasso’s heavy use of pink tones in his works from this period, from the French word for pink, which is rose.

Picasso’s highest selling painting, Garçon à la pipe (Boy with a pipe) was painted during the Rose Period. Other significant Rose Period works include: Woman in a Chemise (Madeleine) (1904–05), The Actor (1904–1905),[4] Lady with a Fan (1905), Two Youths (1905), Harlequin Family (1905), Harlequin’s Family With an Ape (1905), La famille de saltimbanques (1905), Boy with a Dog (1905), Nude Boy (1906), Boy Leading a Horse (1905-06), and The Girl with a Goat (1906).

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Les Pigeons by Pablo Picasso

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Les Pigeons by Pablo Picasso

Figurative Art, fine art posters, les pigeons, Modern Art, Pablo Picasso, picasso art prints, picasso posters, Spanish Art

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Cat and Crab on the Beach by Pablo Picasso

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Cat and Crab on the Beach by Pablo Picasso

Animal Posters, cat and crab on the beach, Figurative Art, fine art posters, Modern Art, Pablo Picasso, picasso art prints, picasso posters, sea creatures, Spanish Art

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Woman with a Fan, 1907 by Pablo Picasso

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Woman with a Fan, 1907 by Pablo Picasso

The heroic image of Paul Cezanne depends upon the notion of a constant battle between his innately passionate temperament and his conscious, reasoned quest for le style, and Cezanne was described as the one fundamentally classical painter of his generation, ‘the Poussin of Impressionism’. This was a widespread perception, and it is clear that as Picasso emerged from his ‘exorcist’ phase in 1908 Cezanne served to bridge the gulf between art negre and the classical tradition.

In Woman with a Fan (1907), which was probably painted in the late spring, a beautiful and very personal balance between the differing voices of Cezanne, art negre and early Greek sculpture is achieved, and achieved, it seems, quite naturally, without tortured struggle.

A radiograph of this head area of the Woman with a Fan shows that Picasso began by following the drawing in making the woman stare directly out at the spectator, in the completed painting it is the single uncovered breast which, Cyclops-like, stares unblinkingly, and all trace of individuality has been erased. With her white shift, rigid pose and throne-like seat, the woman seems like a priestess withdrawn in profound meditation, and since the viewpoint demands that we look up at her and she is much over life-size, we are bound to feel overawed.

On this occasion Picasso did not draw upon Cezanne and art negre to project atavism, roughness and inner tension, but awesome majesty. There are echoes of the stately late portraits of Madame Cezanne, but Picasso chose an austere palette of a few browns and greys, which could hardly be more different from Cezanne’s vibrant prismatic hues and which reinforces the overall impression of formal abstraction produced by the insistent pattern of triangular shapes.

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