Pablo Picasso

To be further developed as I finish Assignments 3, 4 and 5.

Picasso’s work is a key influence in my printmaking, both stylistically and conceptually. I am particularly interested in his abstract work both that influenced by African art with its ferocious angularity that is also echoed in Guernica, and the fragmented light of the abstraction in analytic cubism ‘trying to communicate the perfume’ of an image. See particularly:

and forthcoming:

  • Assignment 4: Abstract Self Portrait (1932 paintings, cubism, portraits and lithographs) forthcoming
  • Assignment 5: From memory (influenced by Guernica) forthcoming

Painting isn’t an aesthetic operation; it’s a form of magic designed as a mediator between this strange, hostile world and us, a way of seizing the power by giving form to our terrors as well as our desires.(p11)

Painting is stronger than I am. It makes me do what it wants. (p70)

A picture is not thought out and settled beforehand. While it is being done it changes as one’s thoughts change. And when it is finished, it still goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it. (p12)

References and Resources

  • Borchardt-Hume, A. and N. Ireson, Eds. (2018). Picasso 1932: The EY Exhibition. London, Tate Publishing.
  • Clark, H., Ed. (1993). Picasso: In His Words. San Francisco, Collins.
  • Cohen, J., Ed. (1995). Picasso: Inside the Image. London, Thames & Hudson.
    Coppel, S. (1998). Picasso and Printmaking in Paris. London, South Bank Publishing.
  • Cowling, E., N. Cox, S. Fraquelli, S. G. Galassi, C. Rigpelle and A. Robbins (2009). Picasso: Challenging the Past. London, National Gallery Pubications.
  • Eik Kahng, Charles Palermo, Harry Cooper, Annie Bourneuf, Christine Poggi, Claire Barry and B. J.C.Devolder (2011). Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment 1910-1912. Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
  • Picasso (1980). Picasso: Lithographs. Toronto, Dover Publications.
  • Picasso (1981). Picasso: Line Drawings and Prints. Toronto, Dover Publications.
  • T.J.Clark (2013). Picasso and Truth: from Cubism to Guernica. Princeton and Oxford, Princeton University Press.

Picasso as artist

Picasso’s life and evolution of his style from:

    • Highly accomplished figurative drawings and paintings from boyhood to late teens
    • Blue period (1901–1904) influenced by the suicide of his close friend Carlos Casagemas
    • Rose period (1904–1906) during his early marriage and relationship
    • African influence (1907–1909), notably Les Demoiselles d’Avignon as a sudden leap to abstraction (see also Wikipedia overview of images from, this period)
    • Analytic cubism (1909–1912)
    • Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919), also referred to as the Crystal period.
    • Neoclassicism and surrealism (1919–1929)
    • The Great Depression to MoMA exhibition: 1930–1939 – the period of Guernica, his 1932 paintings of Marie-Thérèse Walter and the Vollard Suite etchings
    • Later works to final years: 1949–1973 combined elements of his earlier styles

    Overview: BBC Modern Masters Series by  Alastair Sooke

    Gives an overview of Picasso’s life and art and the way they influenced each other, and the influences that Picasso’s art still has for us today.

    Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, MoMA

    A detailed discussion of the origins and meaning of this painting.

    Exhibition Review: Exhibition Review : Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy at the Tate Modern 2018

    The Exhibition focuses on his numerous paintings in the one year of 1932, influenced by his relationship with Marie-Thérèse Walter. See catalogue:

    Borchardt-Hume, A. and N. Ireson, Eds. (2018). Picasso 1932: The EY Exhibition. London, Tate Publishing.

    Girl before a Mirror

    Discussion by a teacher of the ways in which the meanings of this painting are seen and explained to children.

    Picasso portraits at the National Gallery

    Looks in particular at multiple viewpoints and cubism.

    Guernica and attitudes to politics

    Picasso’s last paintings are very poignant, but not well received.

    Google Picasso drawings

    Picasso as printmaker

    Picasso (1881–1973)  made prints throughout his career – over 2,500 principally in etching, lithography and linocut, but also monoprints.

    Google Picasso monoprints

    Google Picasso lithograph

    The Vollard Suite at the British Museum (etchings)

  • Google Picasso etching

    Linocuts

    Invention of the reduction linocut

    His earliest linocut is from 1939, but his major period of working in this medium was from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s. During this time the artist resided mainly in the south of France, far removed from his collaborative involvement with the master printers in Paris where he had made his etchings and lithographs in the 1930s and 40s. He began by producing linocut posters for ceramic exhibitions and bullfighting events in Vallauris with the talented local printer Hidalgo Arnéra.

    Within a very short time Picasso was finding new ways of producing colour linocuts which dispensed with the orthodox method of cutting a separate block of linoleum for each colour.  He devised a method of progressively cutting and printing from a single block that required him to foresee the final result, as once he had gouged away the linoleum surface he could not go back.

    Linocuts Exhibition British Museum exhibition: 10 January – 6 May 2014

     Still Life under the Lamp (1962) depicts a still life of apples next to a glass goblet, brightly illuminated under a lampshade at night. The BM exhibition shows nine stages, beginning with a blank tabula rasa, Picasso progressively cut and printed the single block, gradually building the image with increasing complexity. At each stage the viewer sees an image that would appear finished but Picasso goes further, pursuing it to its final form. (See Google images)

    Jacqueline Reading (1962) a series consisting of four progressive proofs for a monochrome subject, Jacqueline Reading, Picasso’s second wife Jacqueline Roque with whom he lived in the last years of his life. She is posed reading, one hand held to her face and eyes cast down, locked in an interior world. For this print Picasso used two blocks. In the first block he scratched the surface with a stiff comb to describe the form of Jacqueline’s head and bust in tonal terms. A second block was cut with gouges to leave just her outline. Then the print from the second block was superimposed over the first to achieve the final image. (See Google images)

  • Other linocuts: Google Picasso linocut ;
  •  before the lance avant la pique 1959 1
  • Deux femmes près de la fenêtre, 1959
  • Danseurvet musicien  
  • Les Banderilles Like Cretan. Like the composition. How about the background?.
  • Trois femmes 1959
  • le vase de fleurs  
  • tete de femme de profil

Picasso lithographs: Google images

Picasso drypoint : Google Images

Painting technique: Cubist

MoMA painting techniques series has an interesting overview of how to draw multiple perspectives.