Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), one of the most prominent, innovative artists of the 20th century, is celebrated for his lengthy and prolific career working in several modernist idioms, as well as for co-founding Cubism. Picasso was born in Málaga, Spain, and began drawing and painting early on under the influence of his father, an academic painter. He later studied art in Barcelona and often frequented the café Els Quatre Gats, where he first began exhibiting his own paintings. Picasso first visited Paris in 1900 for the city’s world fair, before moving there in 1904.

Early on, Picasso painted many scenes of laborers and the poor during his Blue Period, later focusing on acrobats and circus performers during his Rose Period; in each period, his compositions were dominated by blue or rose hues. In 1907, inspired by African aesthetics, Picasso made his first significant foray into Cubism and into a modernist aesthetic with his monumental painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which featured a scene of five aggressive-looking prostitutes painted with distorted, angular forms and faces in bold outlines, influenced by African masks.

Alongside fellow artist Georges Braque (French, 1882–1963), Picasso further developed Cubism, a revolutionary aesthetic in which artists attempted to capture multiple views of an object simultaneously, abstracting the subject matter in the process. Picasso and Braque also pioneered experiments with collage in their Cubist works, incorporating wallpaper, newspaper, and other materials into their canvases. Towards the 1920s, Picasso returned to more representational works, depicting classical figures and landscapes while dividing his time between Paris and Barcelona. Later in the decade, he began communicating with Surrealist artists, such as his friend Julio Gonzalez (Spanish, 1876–1942). His work reflected the biomorphic forms and bright hues characteristic of the movement, though he always remained separated from the Surrealist circle. Deeply affected by the Spanish Civil War, Picasso painted his monumental work Guernica in 1937, famous for its poignant depictions of the anguish and destruction of the war.

In the mid-1940s, Picasso fully settled in Paris, later moving to Mougins, France, where he created an astounding number of paintings, prints, sculptures, ceramics, and works on paper during the next few decades. Held in the highest regard during his lifetime, retrospectives of his work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Musée Picasso in Paris, the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, the National Gallery in London, and the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, among many other institutions. In 1973, Picasso died in Mougins, at 92 years old, and is renowned today as one of the pioneering and most influential forces of 20th-century modernism.

Timeline

1881
Born in Malaga, Spain
1895
Entered the art academy, La Lonja, Spain
1900
First exhibition in Barcelona, Spain
1901
Became co-publisher of the journal Arte Joven
1901–1904
Blue Period
1904–1906
Rose Period
1908–1914
collaborated with Braque in the development of Cubism
1918
Married Olga Khokhlova
1919
Worked in London for the Ballets Russes show, "El sombrero de tres picos", (The Three-cornered Hat)
1921
Designed set and constumes for Ballet Mercure
1936
Appointed director of the Prado
1936
Met Dora Maar, a photographer of the Surrealist movement
1941
Wrote his first play, "El deseo atrapado por la cola" (Desire Caught by the Tail)
1944
Began association with Communist Party
1960
Picasso Museum of Barcelona founded
1973
Died in Notre Dame de Vie, Mougins, France

Exhibitions

2013
Francisco Durrio - Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain
The Essential Robert Indiana, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, USA
Bloomsbury & Beyond, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, England
Picasso, Museum Jorn (former Silkeborg Art Museum), Silkeborg, Denmark
Picasso: The Vollard Suite, Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, USA
Yo Picasso: Self-portraits, Museo Picasso, Barcelona, Spain
L’art en guerre de Picasso a Dubuffet - Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain
Over, Under, Next: Experiments in Mixed Media, 1913–present, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
A Taste for Modernism, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, USA
Pablo Picasso's Woman in the Studio, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Norman, USA
Pablo Picasso: The Prints and Ceramics, National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan
Highlights, Statens museum for kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark
British and French Modernism, Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
Société Anonyme: Modernism for America, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, USA
1913: The Year of Modernism, Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, USA
Pablo Picasso, Museo Picasso Málaga, Spain
Picasso Black and White, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, USA
Becoming Picasso, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, England
Analysing Cubism, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland
1913 Armory Show Revisited, International Print Center, New York, USA
La obra maestra desconocida - Museu d´Art Espanyol Contemporani (Fundación Juan March), Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Picasso and Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, USA
Picasso, grabador (1904-1935), Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, Cuenca, Spain
2012
Picasso Black and White, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
Picasso's Drawings, 1890–1921: Reinventing Tradition, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Pablo Picasso, Galerie Miro, Prague, Czech Republic
Picasso and the Mysteries of Life: Deconstructing La Vie, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, USA
Splendour of Line, Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art, Dusseldorf, Germany
Picasso, Capolavori dal Museo Nazionale Picasso di Parigi, Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy
Picasso, les chemins du Sud, Centre d’art la Malmaison, Cannes, France
Combas et les céramiques de Picasso à Saint-Tropez, Artisyou, Paris, France
Picasso, Masterpieces From Musée National Picasso, Paris, France - Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Hong Kong
Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris, France
African Influences on Modern Art - Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, USA
Head of musketeer, Museo Picasso Málaga, Spain
Pablo Picasso: Selected Prints and Ceramics, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte, USA
Picasso And Beyond, KM fine Arts, Chicago, USA
Un collage antes del collage, Museo Picasso, Barcelona, Spain
2011
Picasso's Drawings, 1890–1921: Reinventing Tradition, The Frick Collection, New York, USA
Picasso: Frieden und Freiheit, Albertina, Vienna, Austria
Picasso Prints, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, USA
Picasso 1936: Traces of an Exhibition, Museo Picasso, Barcelona, Spain
2010
Picasso: Themes and Variations, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Picasso and the Avante-Garde in Paris, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA
2009
Picasso et les maîtres, Grand Palais, Paris, France
Pablo Picasso: Graphic works 1904-1905 from the Gallery of Ambroise Vollard in Paris, National Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic (solo)
Pablo Picasso: Mosqueteros, Gagosian Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
2008
Focus: Picasso Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (solo)
Picasso, Auroportrait, Suntory Museum, Osaka, Japan (solo)
Picasso en la Fotografia, La Caja Negra, Madrid, Spain (solo)
Die Erneuerung des Sehens, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland
Monet to Dali, First Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, USA
Maternity: Images of Motherhood, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland
2007
Picasso's Desmoiselles d'Avignon, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (solo)
Chartae, Galleria Tega, Milan, Italy
Picasso & Matisse, Andipa Gallery, London, England
Apocalypse Now: The Theater of War, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, USA
Late Work, Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
2006
Picasso & Matisse: Prints and Drawings, Andipa Gallery, London, England
2005
Picasso to Pop, Contessa Gallery, Cleveland, USA
American and European Selections, Richard Gray Gallery, New York, USA
2004
CUBISM AND ITS LEGACY: The Gift of Gustav and Elly Kahnweiler, Tate Liverpool, England
The Spanish Portrait: From El Greco to Picasso, Museo National del Prado, Madrid, Spain
2003
Matisse - Picasso, Tate Modern and travels to Paris and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Entre el clavel y la espada: Rafael Alberti en su siglo, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo, Seville, Spain
1966
85th birthday and Hommage a Pablo Picasso, Petit-Palais, Paris, France
1925
Participates in first Surrealist exhibition, Paris, France
1912
Blue Rider exhibition participant, Munich, Germany
1901
First exhibition in Paris, Vollard Gallery, Paris, France
Exhibition of works by Picasso and Casas, Sala Parés, Barcelona, Spain
1897
First exhibition, Hostal d’Els Quatre Gats, Barcelona, Spain