Sunday, February 21, 2010

Picasso in Paris

Pablo Ruiz Picasso (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973)  was born in Spain but he lived most of his life in France.  The two backgrounds blend into making what Picasso became.  I can't imagine that he would have developed his style in quite the same way if he had not moved to France.  There is the Spanish passion that Picasso brings to the light and color of France which combine to make such a dynamic statement.   

For whatever reason I felt I was with Picasso in Montmarte in his bleak artistic garret.  He lived the classic artist's life in the early years.  When he started out in Paris, Picasso was very poor.  At one point he shared a studio with the poet, Max Jacob.  The apartment was so tiny that only one could sleep there at a time.  One worked by day and one by night.  They were so poor, they even shared a hat!

Next he lived with a mistress in a damp, dirty, and dilapidated apartment at 13, rue Ravignan in Montmartre at the Bateau Lavoire.  He was a young and promising artist and in 1905-6, he painted the portrait of Gertrude Stein in his tiny, unheated broken down, studio.  Gertrude Stein was a wealthy American who had many art buyers in her circle of friends.  She also hosted parties for artists.  Through this connection and others like her Picasso became well known in Paris.

In time Picasso became very wealthy.  At one point he filled his house up with paintings and junk.  Since Picasso never threw anything away, he simply locked the doors, walked away and found another house to live in.  He didn't like people to move things or clean his house so he lived with the trash and junk he kept around him even when he lived in mansions.

There are books on the many women in Picasso's life.  He had a long string of lovers and many artist friends.  He was dynamic, forceful and very appealing.  After he became successful he had a circle of associates that surrounded him.  He was like a rock star before there were rock stars!
Picasso in Paris

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