Pablo Picasso Facts

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Picasso’s Name Was So Long that Even He Probably Had Trouble Remembering It

Pablo Picasso facts reveal that the great artist had a very long name. His full name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso. In addition to his first name and family name, Picasso’s full name consisted of multiple other names honoring various relatives and saints – a courtesy of his Catholic parents Don José Ruiz y Blasco and María Picasso y López. When Pablo shortened it, he chose to retain just his mother’s surname. He thought it suited him better since it was an Italian surname and thus unusual in his home country of Spain.

Picasso’s Work Is Often Categorized into Separate Periods

Pablo Picasso facts show that the famous painter constantly changed his painting style, which is also the reason that his work is categorized into separate main periods. As a teenager, Picasso mostly painted realistic portraits and landscapes, but his interests switched in the beginning of the 20th century, bringing his Blue Period (1901 – 1904), Rose Period (1904 – 1906) and the African-influenced Period (1907 – 1909). This led to the most fruitful period of his artistic life – Cubism (Analytic Cubism from 1909 to 1912 and Synthetic Cubism, also known as the Crystal Period, from 1912 to 1919). In his later life, Picasso even followed Neoclassicism and incorporated various other influences into his works, such as Surrealism, Expressionism, Post-Impressionism and Symbolism.

Picasso Showcased His Talent From a Very Early Age

Pablo Picasso facts show that the boy who would go on to become one of the best-known artists in the world was interested in art (specifically drawing) from a very early age. His mother even revealed that his first words were “piz, piz”, which was short for lápiz, the Spanish word for pencil. Since Pablo’s father was a painter himself, he started training his son when he reached the age of seven. According to an often-told fact about Picasso’s life, when his father realized that young Pablo had surpassed his own skill at the age of 13, he vowed to give up painting for good (in reality, he did no such thing since his paintings from later years exist).

Picasso Produced an Incredible 50,000 Artworks

Although most of his artworks are nowhere near as famous as a select few most people are familiar with, Pablo Picasso facts reveal that he produced around 50,000 artworks over the course of his life. His most important artistic contribution to the world was of course his paintings, and he produced 1,885 of these in his lifetime. In addition to this, he also created 1,228 sculptures, 2,880 ceramics, more than 12,000 drawings, and thousands of prints as well as various tapestries and rugs. His artistic career lasted for nearly 80 years, which means that, on average, he managed to create over 600 artworks each year, or nearly 2 every single day of his career…

Picasso Was an Accomplished Writer as well as a Painter and Sculptor

Most of us know Pablo Picasso as an amazing painter and sculptor, but Pablo Picasso facts reveal that the famous man had various other talents and did not spend every moment of his life painting. One of these talents was writing, and Picasso had been involved in various literary circles ever since his early adulthood. Despite this, he did not produce any writing of his own until he was in his fifties. In his writing opus, we can find poetry and plays, most of them surrealistic and highly unusual. One of his plays, the Desire Caught by the Tail, was performed (read, as Picasso never meant for any of his works to be staged, only read) by various spectacular artists of the 20th century, including Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Albert Camus.

A good example of his unusual writing style can be found below, in an excerpt from his 1937 artwork, the Dream and Lie of Franco:
silver bells & cockle shells & guts braided in a row
a pinky in erection not a grape & not a fig..
casket on shoulders crammed with sausages & mouths
rage that contorts the drawing of a shadow that lashes teeth
nailed into sand the horse ripped open top to bottom in the sun..

Picasso’s Paintings Still Rank among the Priciest in the World

Various Picasso paintings still rank among the most expensive paintings in the world, making Picasso one of the most cherished painters in history. For example, Garçon à la pipe (“Boy with a Pipe”) was sold for $104 million at Sotheby’s in May 2004, Dora Maar au Chat (“Dora Maar with Cat”) for $95.2 million at Sotheby’s in May 2006, and Nu au Plateau de Sculpteur (“Nude, Green Leaves and Bust”) for $106.5 million at Christie’s in May 2010. But all of his previous records – and those of other painters too – were broken in May 2015, when his 1955 Les Femmes d’Alger (“Women of Algiers”) sold for $179.3 million in an auction at Christie’s in New York.

Picasso Was Often Harassed by the Gestapo during World War II

Pablo Picasso facts show that the great painter remained in Paris during World War II and also during the entire Nazi occupation of the city. Since his artistry didn’t quite fit in with the Nazi ideal of art, he had no exhibitions during this time and was often harassed by the Gestapo. It was during one of these Gestapo harassments that an officer saw a photograph of Picasso’s famous painting Guernica in his apartment (depicting violence and suffering of people, and inspired by the 1937 bombing of Guernica) and asked Picasso if he had done that. Picasso calmly replied, “No, you did.”

Picasso’s Lifestyle Was Fairly Promiscuous

As with many artists of the time, Pablo Picasso lived a very promiscuous and hedonistic lifestyle, which brought him numerous short-term relationships with women, who often took the role of mistress while Picasso was married or in a serious relationship. Among a long list of Picasso’s lovers, the following women were the most important (and famous) parts of the great artist’s life: his first love Fernande Olivier; his first wife and mother of his first child, Olga Khokhlova; the mother of his first daughter Marie-Thérèse Walter (who was 17 at the time they met; Picasso was 46); Dora Maar (the model for Picasso’s famous painting Dora Maar au Chat); the mother of two of his children, Françoise Gilot (who was 21 when they met; Picasso was 61); and his second wife, Jacqueline Roque (who was 27 at the time, while Picasso was 79).

Picasso Died while Having Dinner with His Friends

Picasso died on April 8, 1973 in the village of Mougins in France, at the age of 91. He died while entertaining his friends for dinner together with his second wife Jacqueline Roque.
His final words were, “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink any more.” His death was too much for his ex-mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, who hanged herself four years after his death, and for his second wife Jacqueline, who shot herself 13 years after his death.

Guernica Is Picasso’s Most Famous Work

Guernica is without a doubt Pablo Picasso’s most famous painting. It is not just an amazing artwork, but a powerful political statement – Picasso’s reaction to the German bombing of Guernica in 1937 (during the Spanish Civil War). It is a depiction of the tragedies of war and the vast suffering it inflicts on innocent civilians. As such, it has become an anti-war symbol and an embodiment of peace. Guernica is a mural-size canvas painted in oil; it is painted in grey, black and white colors, measures 11 feet tall and 26 feet wide, and currently resides in the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. The painting was commissioned by the Spanish Republican Government for the Spanish contribution to the International Exposition dedicated to Art and Technology in Modern Life at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris.

Picasso Was Once Accused of Stealing the Mona Lisa

On August 11, 1911, a great shock hit the art world – the most famous painting in the world, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, was stolen from the Louvre. A French newspaper offered a reward for any information relating to the bold theft, and a man who claimed to know something soon appeared. He had supposedly stolen a few statues himself from the Louvre a few years back for the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, who in turn sold them to Pablo Picasso. Picasso, not even 30 years old at the time, was taken to court, but denied any knowledge that the statues were stolen and any connection to the Mona Lisa theft. Since there was absolutely no real evidence that would connect Picasso to the theft, the charges were soon dropped.

Two years later, the real thief was discovered – a former guard at the Louvre going by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia. He was caught trying to sell the famous painting to an art dealer. Although he confessed to the crime, claiming that he wanted to bring the Mona Lisa back to her home of Italy, many people continued to believe (and still do) that Picasso was somehow involved in the daring theft…

Picasso Was Once So Poor that He Had to Keep Himself Warm by Burning His Paintings

Although Picasso’s paintings now sell for millions, Pablo Picasso facts reveal that he was very poor during certain periods of his life. In his early twenties (in his Blue Period at the beginning of the 20th century), life was especially rough for him: one of his close friends had recently committed suicide, and Picasso’s works were only rarely bought, so he lived in extreme poverty. At times, he was so desperate that he was forced to burn some of his artwork in order to keep warm and survive. His feelings and life situation at that time are clearly visible in his Blue Period paintings – they often depict poor and suffering people.

Picasso’s Blue Period Was Marked by Blue and Blue-Orange Shades of Color

Where did Picasso’s early era of painting, known as the Blue Period, and which lasted from 1901 until 1904, get its name? From the color blue, of course! His paintings of this period were very somber, and painted in cold blue and blue-green shades that only seldom saw the addition of warmer colors, usually in the form of blue-orange shades. During this time, Picasso lived on the road from Barcelona to Paris, so experts are not sure where exactly his Blue Period started. Beggars, prostitutes, blind people and broken mothers were central to most of his artworks of the time, including the well-known La Vie, which can nowadays be seen in the Cleveland Museum of Art.

In His Rose Period, Picasso Adopted a More Cheerful Style

Pablo Picasso facts reveal that the great painter, after his gloomy Blue Period, started painting in a more cheerful style with many orange and pink colors, after which his second major period of painting is named – the Rose Period. His artistry of this period was full of circus people, acrobats and harlequins (traditional comic servant characters from Italian theatre), and the latter also became his personal symbol. His more cheerful style is often also attributed to Fernande Olivier, a young bohemian French artist, and Picasso’s first real love.

Picasso Also Had a Short African-Influenced Period

Pablo Picasso facts also reveal that the famous painter found inspiration for his art in African culture during a short period of his life. The artistry of this period, known as Picasso’s African Period or the Black Period, was heavily influenced by African sculpturing, especially traditional African masks. Paris was full of African art at that time, so Picasso certainly had plenty of opportunities to explore it. The most famous painting from the African Period is Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (“The Young Ladies of Avignon”), which can be seen in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Picasso Was Considered a Stillbirth at the Time of His Birth

The world could have easily been deprived of all the beauty Picasso created in his works of art, since he was believed to have been stillborn at the time of his birth. His mother had an extremely difficult birth and the baby Pablo looked extremely weak, so the midwife present at the birth just left him lying on the table and tended to his mother instead. Luckily for Pablo, his uncle, Don Salvador, was also present at the birth. Don Salvador was a doctor, but it was not his medical knowledge that saved the baby Pablo; it was his cigar, a popular accessory of doctors at the time. When Don Salvador blew smoke into Pablo’s face, he responded with a grimace and a bellow of fury, letting them all know he was alive.

Picasso Was Strongly Opposed to the Spanish Dictator Franco

Pablo Picasso facts show that he was an active opponent of the infamous Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco. Picasso was a supporter of the Republic, which was overthrown by Franco’s military revolt, so it is no surprise that he spoke out against Franco’s regime on various occasions. His contempt for the dictator who overtook his homeland is clearly seen in many of his artworks, most notably in the famous Guernica from 1937 and The Dream and Lie of Franco from the same year. Picasso unfortunately didn’t live long enough to see Franco’s regime fall, as Franco died in November 1975, approximately two and a half years after Picasso.

Picasso Spent Most of His Life Outside of His Home Country

Starting in his early youth, Picasso was forced to move around quite a lot. He left his hometown of Malaga in southern Spain for La Coruña, La Coruña for Barcelona, Barcelona for Madrid and then vice-versa: Madrid for Barcelona. In his early twenties, he settled in Paris permanently, never to live in the General Franco-dictated Spain again. He didn’t even leave Paris when it was occupied by the Nazi Germans during World War II. Eventually he did leave the city, but only in his later years when he bought a few villas in the south of France, where he lived and painted until the end of his life.

Picasso Became a Communist Later on in His Life

Many people don’t know that Pablo Picasso became a communist in his sixties, during World War II. He joined the French Communist Party in 1944, shortly after the liberation of Paris from Nazi rule, and his explanation for his decision was a short and simple one. He stated, “I have found there all whom I respect most, the greatest thinkers, the greatest poets and all the faces of the resistance fighters.” Some of his (controversial) works from that period include the “Massacre in Korea”, portraying US soldiers attacking pregnant women and children, and a portrait of Stalin. Despite joining the Communist Party, he was not always a supporter of communism and the Soviet Union – in 1956, for example, he signed a protest letter condemning the Soviet invasion of Hungary.

Picasso’s Paintings Are Very Popular Among Art Thieves

Pablo Picasso facts reveal a simple truth: more of his paintings have been stolen than any other artist in history. While this is certainly not the best thing that could have happened, it is a clear sign of how highly his artwork is valued on the market. Nearly 1,200 of his works are listed as stolen, missing or disputed, including Le pigeon aux petits pois,which was stolen during the infamous 2010 Paris Museum of Modern Art heist – one of the most daring (and most costly) art thefts in history.

Pablo Picasso Facts — Facts about Pablo Picasso Summary

Pablo Picasso FactsPablo Picasso, whose full name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso, was born in Malaga, Spain, on October 25, 1881. He showed his talent for art at a very young age and was encouraged by his father, who was also a painter. Picasso left his homeland in his early twenties, settling in the then center of the art world – Paris. He remained in France until his death in 1973, at the very respectable age of 91, so most of his art was created in France. His style and interests changed greatly over the course of his career, and his work is typically divided into various periods, starting with the Blue Period in the beginning of the 20th century. In addition to being one of the greatest painters of all time, Picasso also exhibited a talent for other forms of art, including writing poetry and plays.

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