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Pablo Ruiz Picasso, 1881-1973

Picasso’s father taught him to have the utmost respect for painting. He attended bullfights with his father giving way to some of his subject matter in his paintings. His father also allowed him to finish up details of his own paintings. Overwhelmed by his son’s talent, Picasso’s father gave him his brushes and declared he would never paint again.

Born in Malaga on October 25, 1881, Picasso received his first drawing lessons from his father, a drawing teacher, at La Coruna in 1891. In 1895 the family moved to Barcelona, where young Pablo brilliantly passed the entry examination to the famous La Llonga art school. In 1897 he exhibited drawings in a cafe called Els Quatre Gats. In 1899, in Barcelona, he met Jaime Sabartes and did his first etching El Zurdo. The following year saw Picasso in Paris for the first time, where he did drawings. In 1901 he did drawings in Madrid and Paris and he started to sign his works ‘Picasso,’ which was his mother’s maiden name. In 1904 he settled definitively in Paris, where he rented a studio in the "Bateau Lavoir" and engraved The Frugal Meal. In 1905 he engraved Les Saltimbanques. In 1906 Picasso did drypoints on celluloid and his first woodcuts. From 1909 to 1915 he produced Cubist prints, and from 1916 to 1920 he did neoclassic, Ingresque etchings. 1919 was the year of his first lithographs; in 1927 he did etchings for Balzac’s Le Chef-d’oeuvre inconnu and etchings for Ovid’s Metamorphoses in 1930. In 1933 he started work on a set of one hundred copperplates for Vollard (the Vollard Series). In 1934 he did Lysistrata and in 1935 the Minotauromachy. In 1937 he painted Guernica, engraved Franco’s Dream and Lie, the sugar aquatints for Buffon’s Histoire Naturelle, and the portraits of Vollard that concluded the famous hundred plate series.

Picasso reverted to lithography in November 1945, producing his first color prints in that medium at Mourlot’s. In 1948 he did Gongora and Reverdy’s Le Chant des Morts. In 1949 Picasso created the lithograph entitled The Dove of Peace; in 1950 the illustrations for Cesaire’s Corps Perdui; in 1952 the aquatints, Woman at the Window. From 1953 to 1957 came his aquatints, line engravings and lithographs (the Jacqueline series), and in 1958 his first color linocuts. In 1959 he did the Tauromachy series and linocuts. From 1960 to 1967, he did aquatints, etchings, drypoints and line engravings. In 1968, from March 16 to October 5, three weeks before his 87th birthday, he did three hundred and fifty-seven etchings, line engravings, drypoints, mezzotints and aquatints. No other artist has more radically changed the nature of art. Most museums of modern art throughout the world have examples of his work in their collections.