Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso
Cruche, bol et citron, 1907
Femme (Epoque des »Demoiselles d’Avignon«), 1907
Femme assise dans un fauteuil, 1910
Tête d’homme (Tête moustachue), 1910 oder 1912
Mandoliniste, 1911
Bouteille sur une table, 1912
Verre, bouteille, guitare (»Ma Jolie«), 1914
Tête de femme, 1921
Instruments de musique sur une table, 1926
La bouteille de vin, 1926
Femme dans un fauteuil, 1927
Figure (Femme assise), 1930
Le sauvetage, 1932
Sculpture d’une tête (Marie-Thérèse), 1932
La femme qui pleure, 1937
La femme qui pleure I, 1937
Femme assise (Dora), 1938
Femme assise dans un fauteuil (Dora), 1938
Femme assise dans une chaise (Dora), 1938
Buste de femme au chapeau (Dora), 1939
La femme au tambourin, 1939
Tête de femme (Dora), 1941
Femme en vert (Dora), 1944
Peintre et modèle, 1953
Petite femme aux bras écartés, 1961
Tête de femme, 1961
Femme au chapeau, 1961/1963
L’enlèvement des Sabines, 1962
Nu couché jouant avec un chat, 1964
Chat et homard, 1965
Nu couché et homme au masque, 1969
Profil de femme (Jacqueline), 1969
Vase de fleurs sur une table, 1969
Cruche, bol et citron, 1907
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Pablo Picasso
Cruche, bol et citron, 1907

Jug, Bowl, and Lemon
Oil on wood, 63.5 x 49.5 cm
Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

Femme (Epoque des »Demoiselles d’Avignon«), 1907
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Pablo Picasso
Femme (Epoque des »Demoiselles d’Avignon«), 1907

Woman (“Demoiselles d’Avignon” period)
Oil on canvas, 119 x 93.5 cm
Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

Femme assise dans un fauteuil, 1910
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Pablo Picasso
Femme assise dans un fauteuil, 1910

Woman Sitting in an Armchair
Oil on canvas, 73.2 x 60.2 cm
Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

Tête d’homme (Tête moustachue), 1910 oder 1912
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Pablo Picasso
Tête d’homme (Tête moustachue), 1910 oder 1912

Head of a Man (Head with Moustache)
Charcoal on paper, 64 x 49 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Mandoliniste, 1911
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Pablo Picasso
Mandoliniste, 1911

The Mandolin Player
Oil on canvas, 100.5 x 69.5 cm
Photo: Cantz Medienmanagement, Ostfildern

Bouteille sur une table, 1912
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Pablo Picasso
Bouteille sur une table, 1912

Bottle on a Table
Charcoal and newspaper on paper, 62 x 47.5 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Verre, bouteille, guitare (»Ma Jolie«), 1914
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Pablo Picasso
Verre, bouteille, guitare (»Ma Jolie«), 1914

Glass, Bottle, Guitar (“Ma jolie”)
Oil and sand on canvas, 80.5 x 64.5 cm
Photo: Cantz Medienmanagement, Ostfildern

Tête de femme, 1921
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Currently on show at the Fondation Beyeler

Pablo Picasso
Tête de femme, 1921

Head of a Woman
Pastel on paper, 63.5 x 48 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

As the Fondation’s only work from Picasso’s ‘classical period’ in the early 1920s, this pastel drawing represents a transition between the Spanish artist’s cubist and his surrealist works. It was executed in 1921 as a study for the large painting Three Women at the Spring (Museum of Modern Art, New York) and relates directly to the head of the woman on the left of the painting who is waiting to fill her jar with water. But unlike the painting, the woman in Tête de Femme is not peering absent-mindedly down at her companion but gazing out with alert eyes to the right. It is as if she had been withdrawn from the context of the large composition and now finds herself alone. Another difference is the pastel’s blue background as opposed to the earth-coloured ground in the painting. In the pastel Picasso is masterfully playing with the idea of having modelled a classical head as a sculptor which he then brings to life as a painter.

Instruments de musique sur une table, 1926
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Pablo Picasso
Instruments de musique sur une table, 1926

Musical Instruments on a Table
Oil on canvas, 168 x 203 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

La bouteille de vin, 1926
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Pablo Picasso
La bouteille de vin, 1926

The Wine Bottle
Oil on canvas, 98 x 131.5 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Femme dans un fauteuil, 1927
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Pablo Picasso
Femme dans un fauteuil, 1927

Woman in an Armchair
Oil on canvas, 128 x 97.8 cm
Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

Between 1926 and 1929 Picasso worked intensively on the theme of the model in the studio. But did he actually do this painting in his studio with a life model? A preliminary drawing in a sketchbook from the same year (at the Musée Picasso, Paris) shows that he had already finalized the composition before starting the painting. In his drawings he also experimented with spatial projections of the entirely flat pictorial elements in the painting. Besides the outside world of nature, he also found inspiration in the inner world of the imagination. Here we see the ghostlike figure of a woman, bright yellow and baring her teeth in the form of vagina dentate, as she slides through the colour zones and structures of the painting. Sections of the body and suggestions of an interior are taken apart and reassembled into an abstract structure.

Figure (Femme assise), 1930
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Pablo Picasso
Figure (Femme assise), 1930

Figure (Seated Woman)
Oil on wood, 65.6 x 49.2 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

As if highlighted in the white glow of a spotlight, a small figure is gazing inquisitively at us. Eyes, nose, mouth, ears – maybe even some hair, and one breast at least: all there! Also, an armchair with a wickerwork back. Reminiscent of Cubist experiments with netting stuck onto the painting, the back of the chair seems almost hyperreal in comparison to the figure. In addition, it shows what is happening to the figure, whose presence on the flat plane of the painting is assembled from a variety of visual fields, strands and layers.

Le sauvetage, 1932
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Pablo Picasso
Le sauvetage, 1932

The Rescue
Oil on canvas, 130 x 97.5 cm
Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

By 1927 at the latest Picasso had met the young Marie-Thérèse Walter, who soon became his lover. The dramatic work Le sauvetage (Rescue) shows three women, each bearing a resemblance to Marie-Thérèse. The figure at the centre, seemingly still just alive, is being rescued from the water as though she were the mirror image of the upper figure. This and the ubiquitous narcissi prompted Reinhold Hohl to interpret the painting as an adaptation of the myth of Narcissus, who in Ovid’s Metamorphoses is said to have fallen in love with his own reflection and, as he died, transmuted into the flower named after him. Transformation is the painting’s overriding theme: the flowers are formed in the breath of the rescued figure, while as an ensemble the three bodies merge into a single overarching gesture. One feature in the work bears particular art historical interest: the uppermost head shows the first instance of a facial expression that was to recur in 1937 in one of the central figures in Guernica.

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Sculpture d’une tête (Marie-Thérèse), 1932
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Pablo Picasso
Sculpture d’une tête (Marie-Thérèse), 1932

Sculpture of a Head (Marie-Thérèse)
Charcoal on prepared fabric, 92 x 73 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

La femme qui pleure, 1937
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Pablo Picasso
La femme qui pleure, 1937

Weeping Woman
Oil on canvas, 55 x 46 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Following a period from 1924 to 1934 influenced by Surrealism, Picasso continued to employ the ‘surreal’ pictorial idiom he had evolved over those years in the works he produced from 1935 to 1939 and thereafter. Against the backdrop of war, however, they frequently became imbued with a new and distraught undertone. Dream was superseded by nightmare. Besides the work that was influenced directly by events on the world stage (Guernica, 1937), their impact is also felt in the portraits Picasso painted of individuals – in particular of his lover Dora Maar. We sense his preoccupation with these events in the painting and the etching of Weeping Woman, 1937, a type of image that Picasso was originally intending to incorporate in the array of figures in Guernica but then developed as a separate group of works. Whereas the extreme displays of feeling in his works between 1924 and 1934 often mirrored emotional tensions in Picasso’s private life, here the agitated expression grounded in years of Surrealism depicted the shared, universal suffering of people caught up in the horrors of war. Beyond her individual nature, Dora is elevated into a mater dolorosa (Mother of Sorrows) – emancipated from the realm of religion – of the age of ideologies and their consequences.

La femme qui pleure I, 1937
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Pablo Picasso
La femme qui pleure I, 1937

Weeping Woman I
Drypoint, aquatint, etching, and polished steel on copper on Vergé de Montval paper, sheet 15/15, VII.; final stage, 69.2 x 49.5 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Following a period from 1924 to 1934 influenced by Surrealism, Picasso continued to employ the ‘surreal’ pictorial idiom he had evolved over those years in the works he produced from 1935 to 1939 and thereafter. Against the backdrop of war, however, they frequently became imbued with a new and distraught undertone. Dream was superseded by nightmare. Besides the work that was influenced directly by events on the world stage (Guernica, 1937), their impact is also felt in the portraits Picasso painted of individuals – in particular of his lover Dora Maar. We sense his preoccupation with these events in the painting and the etching of Weeping Woman, 1937, a type of image that Picasso was originally intending to incorporate in the array of figures in Guernica but then developed as a separate group of works. Whereas the extreme displays of feeling in his works between 1924 and 1934 often mirrored emotional tensions in Picasso’s private life, here the agitated expression grounded in years of Surrealism depicted the shared, universal suffering of people caught up in the horrors of war. Beyond her individual nature, Dora is elevated into a mater dolorosa (Mother of Sorrows) – emancipated from the realm of religion – of the age of ideologies and their consequences.

Femme assise (Dora), 1938
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Pablo Picasso
Femme assise (Dora), 1938

Seated Woman (Dora)
Ink, gouache, and coloured chalk on paper, 76.5 x 56 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

On 27 April 1938 Picasso sketched the head and shoulders of Dora, seated and wearing a hat. With ears and eyes that look as if they have been glued on, her appearance is as constructed as the chair she is sitting on. The figure and the furniture are also joined together by the lines of ink crisscrossing the picture like a cobweb. In conjunction with Dora‘s dejected gaze, they create an impression of a figure in captivity, contrasting with the gaiety of the colouring. In further drawings made over the following days, Picasso extended his portrayal of the seated Dora to include her full body, a pictorial idea that on 31 May culminated in this outstanding large painting in the Fondation’s collection. Here, all whimsical, burlesque elements have been dismissed: like a prison cell, grey walls surround the depicted figure on all sides. An enormous assembly of clunky forms resembling an insect-like monument, both terrifying and terrified in one, Dora is enthroned on the skeleton of a chair. The chair has fully merged with the body and is reminiscent of a torture rack, with the body’s limbs draped across chair’s armrests as if mounted on the beams of a cross. Yet in the drawing from 4 July 1938, also in the Fondation’s collection, which shows Dora coquettishly raising her hand to her mouth, Picasso reverts the massive, sombre composition back into a mood of surreal levity.

Femme assise dans un fauteuil (Dora), 1938
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Pablo Picasso
Femme assise dans un fauteuil (Dora), 1938

Woman Sitting in an Armchair (Dora)
Oil on canvas, 188.5 x 129.5 cm
Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

Femme assise dans une chaise (Dora), 1938
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Pablo Picasso
Femme assise dans une chaise (Dora), 1938

Woman Sitting in a Chair (Dora)
Ink on paper, 65 x 50 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Buste de femme au chapeau (Dora), 1939
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Pablo Picasso
Buste de femme au chapeau (Dora), 1939

Bust of Woman with Hat (Dora)
Oil on canvas, 55 x 46.5 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Whereas other depictions of Dora Maar in the Fondation such as Femme qui pleure and Femme assise dans un fauteuil show her as a universal figure for projecting a world marked by suffering and fear, in this further work by Picasso in the collection he seeks to portray her again with the focus more on her individual character. He uses the interaction of pale face and background contrasting with dark hat and hair in Buste de femme au chapeau (Dora) to define new contours capable of revealing fresh facets in Dora’s countenance. Besides the undeniably cheerful tone of this new vision of human physiognomy, the expression in Dora’s eyes in this small masterpiece dazzles with the alert presence of a woman who as Picasso’s partner and a distinguished photographer in her own right emerged as an important witness of a disturbing age.

La femme au tambourin, 1939
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Currently exhibited at Kunstmuseum Basel in Basel

Pablo Picasso
La femme au tambourin, 1939

Woman with Tambourine
Aquatint and line etching on copper on Vélin d’Arches paper, sheet 1/30, printed in 1942 before steel-facing of the plate, 66.5 x 51.2 cm, 74 x 56 cm (sheet)
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Tête de femme (Dora), 1941
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Pablo Picasso
Tête de femme (Dora), 1941

Head of a Woman (Dora)
Bronze, one of four casts, 80 x 40 x 55 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Femme en vert (Dora), 1944
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Pablo Picasso
Femme en vert (Dora), 1944

Woman in Green (Dora)
Oil on canvas, 130 x 97 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

This impressive painting, presumed to have been executed in 1944, appears to show Dora Maar enthroned on a chair in a narrow, confined room with her gaze fixed on the viewer. Some aspects of the painting suggest that Picasso was well acquainted with another work in the Fondation’s collection, Cézanne’s Madame Cézanne. Besides the position of the hands, depicted in a similar way in both paintings, a parallel can be observed in the space on the right between the arm and the body, which in both works shows something other than what we might expect. In Cézanne we see the wall rather than the armchair, in Picasso a section of the wall but without the anticipated corner of the room. Thus, towards the end of the war Picasso was referring back to the cherished touchstone Cézanne; whereas Cézanne portrays his wife with cool aloofness, Picasso gives Dora a dog’s head – an expression, perhaps, of how relations with her had deteriorated since May 1943 and the arrival of Françoise Gilot?

Peintre et modèle, 1953
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Currently exhibited at the Kunsthalle Bremen

Pablo Picasso
Peintre et modèle, 1953

Artist and Model
Pen and brush with ink on paper, 26 x 21 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Petite femme aux bras écartés, 1961
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Pablo Picasso
Petite femme aux bras écartés, 1961

Little Woman with Outstretched Arms
Painted sheet metal, cut out and folded, 36.2 x 34.5 x 13 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Picasso’s Petite femme aux bras écartés (Little woman with outstretched arms) was a study for a monumental sculpture that was executed in concrete for the country estate of the Picasso’s art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler.

Tête de femme, 1961
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Pablo Picasso
Tête de femme, 1961

Head of a Woman
Painted sheet metal, cut out, folded, and incised, 28 x 21 x 9.5 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Picasso repeatedly explored the relationship between two- and three-dimensionality. Thus in his Cubist phase, for instance, he attempted – in painting – to represent three-dimensional bodies in two dimensions. His sheet metal sculptures from the early 1960s, based on his experiments with paper cuts, are a special case. Although they are three-dimensional, as an erect assembly of flat planes, which are painted or, as in the case of Tête de femme, scored with lines, they in fact have a two-dimensional appearance; they could be described as spatial paintings.

Femme au chapeau, 1961/1963
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Pablo Picasso
Femme au chapeau, 1961/1963

Woman with Hat
Sheet metal, cut out, folded, and painted in 1963, 126 x 73 x 41 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

There are four versions of Femme au chapeau, although this is the only one Picasso also later painted. The figure’s volume is created not only by the folds in the metal but also by the staggered arrangement of several planes, which cast shadows and present different vistas through the gaps. It renders a figure in all its complexity, showing the mouth and chin in profile, but the eyes from the front. The eye the viewer can look straight through creates a different effect from the one with the brown background.

L’enlèvement des Sabines, 1962
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Pablo Picasso
L’enlèvement des Sabines, 1962

The Rape of the Sabines
Oil on canvas, 161.5 x 130 cm
Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

In this painting Picasso was expressing his alarm at the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962: a horse with bared teeth ridden by a warrior brandishing a sword and shield savagely whirls towards the viewer, threatening to crush the woman cast down on the ground beneath it. The title is not a direct reference to the abduction of the Sabine women, a mythical episode from the early history of Rome, but to a number of famous paintings on this theme. For inspiration, Picasso had versions by Poussin and David projected onto his studio wall. Yet his own painting also appears to have been influenced by Peter Paul Rubens’ work The rape of the daughters of Leucippus (often also wrongly known as The rape of the Sabine women). This is suggested not only by his choice of a vertical format but also by the woman’s outstretched arms and the angle of the turning horse.

Nu couché jouant avec un chat, 1964
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Pablo Picasso
Nu couché jouant avec un chat, 1964

Reclining Woman Playing with a Cat
Oil on canvas, 114 x 194.5 cm
Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

In his late period Picasso developed as astonishingly expressive style of painting which had little regard for conventions. Almost every day he completed a large, dramatically executed painting, a productive output that reads like a diary. In Picasso’s works one can observe the rhythm of his brushstrokes in what one might more appropriately describe as painted drawings than colour compositions. In this large horizontal-format grisaille painting Picasso portrayed his favourite model at that time, his wife Jacqueline, as an odalisque toying with a kitten – an allegory of languid, self-assured eroticism. But the figure’s posture is also reminiscent of Etruscan sarcophagus imagery, allowing one to see the motif as a symbol of death. In stylistic terms, the painting harks back to his much earlier work Femme from 1907: in both pieces he delineates the figure with arc-shaped brush strokes and contrasts unpainted with painted areas of the canvas.

Chat et homard, 1965
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Pablo Picasso
Chat et homard, 1965

Cat and Lobster
Oil on canvas, 73 x 100 cm
Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

This vivaciously painted work belongs to a group of paintings dating from January 1965 which all share the same subject, a mundane day-to-day occurrence that probably held personal significance for Picasso: a cat greedily eying a lobster. Typically for his late style, Picasso has suggested the contours of the lobster with black lines, as if drawing in paint. Especially striking is the work’s vibrant colour; in particular, the play of contrasts between the red and the green gives the picture an idiosyncratic sense of space. In the same vein, Picasso has also written his signature in green on the red ground.

Nu couché et homme au masque, 1969
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Pablo Picasso
Nu couché et homme au masque, 1969

Reclining Nude and Man with Mask
Graphite pencil on paper, 50 x 65.5 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

A beautiful, opulent woman is voluptuously sprawled out in deep sleep, watched over by a man. Picasso was a master in his treatment of desire as an artistic theme. In Nu couché et homme au masque (Reclining nude and man with mask) the made-up woman with long, varnished fingernails of somewhat threatening nature is being observed, strictly speaking, by one man with three faces: the bearded youth with a penetrating gaze and an eye in his forehead reminiscent of the giant Cyclops Polyphemus, casts a shadow which does not seem to be made by his own head. In it we recognize a classical Greco-Roman profile. The mask the youth is holding up shows the wrinkled face of an old man. Could this be meant by the then 88-year-old Picasso as a reference to himself, to someone who is in fact young but concealed behind a façade of old age? This interpretation is suggested by the assurance of the scant lines delineating the figures and the drawing that feels as though it was dashed off in a single unhesitating gesture.

Profil de femme (Jacqueline), 1969
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Pablo Picasso
Profil de femme (Jacqueline), 1969

Profile of Woman (Jacqueline)
Linocut with ink and coloured pencils, 75 x 62 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Picasso got to know Jacqueline Roque (1927–1986) in 1953. She was to be the artist’s last partner, marrying him in 1961. In 1970, Picasso dedicated this optimistic linocut portrait of Jacqueline in profile, which he overpainted with several sets of lines, to Hildy Beyeler, whose role in building the Beyeler Collection should certainly not be underestimated.

Vase de fleurs sur une table, 1969
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Pablo Picasso
Vase de fleurs sur une table, 1969

Vase with Flowers on a Table
Oil on canvas, 116 x 89 cm
Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

For Picasso, as for many other artists, the flower bouquet was an opportunity to explore the possibilities of painting – although in this case colour is not necessarily his main interest. The picture’s point of departure are the forms of the vase and the bouquet, which on first sight seem to be no more than a muddle of brush strokes. But it is worth following the individual strokes: they result from the painterly gestures shaped by Picasso’s irrepressible willpower and fluid style. Paradoxical as it may sound, they show him above all to be an unrivalled master of line drawing. Whether with brush, pen or pencil, he was capable of rendering every line with a kind of emotionally charged ‘effet’, investing his pictures with compelling excitement.

Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso

1881, Málaga – 1973, Mougins (France)

The Spanish painter, printmaker and sculptor was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and produced a vast oeuvre of paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and ceramics. Picasso studied art in La Coruña, Barcelona and Madrid before settling in Paris in 1904. His Blue and Rose periods were followed in 1907 by the painting Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon – the first major Cubist work. Following first collage-based pieces (1912) and works produced in a neoclassical style (1920s), was invited to take part in the first Surrealist exhibition in Paris in 1925. He also began producing large sculptures assembled out of scrap objects and pieces of iron. In 1937 he created the vast mural Guernica for the Spanish pavilion at the Paris Exposition Universelle; it dealt with the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica by the German air force earlier that year and expressed the artist’s abhorrence of the inhumanity and brutality of war. In 1939 a major retrospective of Picasso’s work was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1949 he moved to the South of France, where he had regularly spent summers painting since 1909. His late work is characterized by the aggressively dynamic portrayal of female nudes, a wide range of artistic styles and a renewed interest in the art of the Old Masters.

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