ART & Philosophy

"It is my misfortune to use things as my passions tell me. What a miserable fate for a painter who adores blondes to have to stop himself putting them into a picture because they don't go with the basket of fruit! I put all the things I like into my pictures. The things--so much the worse for them, they just have to put up with it." 

The ideas before were that art had a mission of evolution and human development, or it offered a glimpse into the inner being of the artist. Picasso saw these quite ridiculous, proposing, "All I have ever made was made for the present and in the hope that it will always remain in the present. When I have found something to express, I have done it without thinking of the past or the future."

For Picasso, art was not a parade of progression, or a portrait of himself which invited any viewer into the depths of his psyche. It was his medium of self-explanation not because people were asking for the explanation, but because he was an artist. The circular logic of conceit.

Classic Beginning: Rose & Blue Periods 

Boy Leading a Horse  
1906, early, Paris  
Oil on canvas  
220.3 x 130.6 cm  
Zervos I, 264  
The Museum of Modern Art, New York  
Picasso began as a child prodigy in his native Spain. Son to an artist, he held his first one-man show before he was 14, and soon went on to higher institutions of study; at 18, he went to Paris, to live a young artist's life: hungry, poor, and poorly accomodated (he shared an apartment with a roomate, sleeping in the single bed by day, working at night while his roomate slept). He painted elongated figures on beaches, musing alcoholics.  It was his Blue Period, when he painted "Boy Leading a Horse". After making some friends, meeting buyers, and finding a mistress, he changes tones.  He painted the same images, but in pink; hence, it is his Rose Period

Attention Invention: Distortion 

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 
Paris, June-July 1907 
Oil on canvas 
8' x 7'8" (243.9 x 233.7 cm.) 
The Museum of Modern Art, New York 
Daix 47 

"What is a human face?  Who sees it correctly-the photographer, the mirror or the painter? Are we to paint what's on the face, what's inside the face, or what's behind it?"  Time Magazine Article, 1950 

After a very short time, the restless Picasso tired of classical grace.  He visited a World's Faire and was exposed to African sculpture, masks and stylized figure drawings. In response, he painted Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, a shocking and disruptive portrait of prostitution, losing most of his buyers, gaining much attention, as he had hoped.  The experience nurtures his inventiveness.

Re-Shaping Beauty: Cubism 

Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler  
Paris, autumn-winter 1910  
Oil on canvas  
39 1/2 x 28 5/8 in. (100.6 x 72.8 cm.)  
The Art Institute of Chicago  
Daix 368 

"There is no abstract art. You must always start with something."  

"I object to the use of the word anarchy in connection with my work -- whoever uses it. I'm not an anarchist. I never have been. My work is a constructive one. I am building, not tearing down. What people call deformation in my work results from their own misapprehension. It's not a matter of deformation; it's a question of formation. My work obeys laws I have spent my life in formulating and adhering to."  
From The Atlantic Monthly, July 1957. Volume 200, no. 1 (pages 35 - 41). 

Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Picasso's friend and dealer sat more than twenty times for Picasso to paint his cubist portrait.  To clarify and define the disjointed shatters of the image, Picasso preserved certain features of the sitter and setting; see Kahnweiler's eyes and hands, the button on his coat.

Picasso and Braque's fragmented tecnique was enormously unpopular when it first met up with critics, who called it "cubism". Gertrude Stein was supportive.

The War Years: Political Picasso 

Paris, 1 May to 4 June 1937 
Oil on canvas 
349.3 x 776.6 cm 
Zervos IX, 65 
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid 

Loyalist to his native country, Picasso painted Guernica for the Spanish government during the Civil War in Spain. The mural, done in black, white and grey, depicts the bombing of the Spanish town of Basque by German planes. Brutally ugly, it combined classical analogies with garbage and nationalist symbols.

Picasso at
Acrobat and Young Harlequin (Acrobate et jeune Arlequin)    
The Aficionado    
Assemblage mounted in Picasso's studio    
Au Bon Marche    
Bottle of Vieux Marc, Glass, and Newspaper    
Boy Leading a Horse    
Bread and Fruit Dish on a Table    
Brick Factory in Tortosa (Factory at Horta de Ebro)    
Bowl of Fruit (The Fruit Dish)    
Composition: The Peasants (Composition: les paysans)    
The Dance    
The Dance of the Veils (Nude with Drapes)    
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon    
Dove with Green Peas (Le pigeon aux petit pois)    
The Dream    
Evocation (The Burial of Casagemas)    
The Girl with a Goat (La jeune fille a la chevre)    
Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier)    
Girl with Plumed Hat    
Glass and Bottle of Bass    
Glass and Bottle of Suze    
Glass of Absinthe    
Glass, Dice, and Newspaper    
Guitar (La guitare)    
Guitar, Newspaper, Glass and Bottle    
Guitar, Sheet Music, Glass    
The Guitar Player    
Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace    
Head of a Man    
Head of a Woman (Olga Picasso)    
House in a Garden (House and Trees)    
Houses on the Hill, Horta de Ebro    
Landscape with Bridge    
Large Heads    
"Ma Jolie" (Woman with a Zither or Guitar)    
The Man with the Golden Helmet (after Rembrandt)    
Man with a Hat    
Man with a Violin    
Maquette for Guitar    
Las Meninas (after Velazquez)    
Musketeer and Cupid    
Musketeer with Pipe    
Musketeer with Pipe and Flowers    
Nude and Smoker    
Paul as Harlequin    
The Pigeons    
The Poet (Ceret)    
The Poet (Sorgues)    
Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler    
Portrait of a Girl    
Portrait of Manuel Pallares    
Portrait of Wilhelm Uhde    
Portrait of Ambroise Vollard    
Rape of the Sabines    
Rembrandtesque Figure and Cupid    
Reservoir at Horta    
The Scallop Shell: "Notre Avenir est dans l'air"    
Seated Man (Self-portrait)    
Seated Man with Sword and Flower    
Seated Old Man    
Self-portrait with Uncombed Hair (1896)    
Self-portrait (1900)    
Self Portrait: "Yo Picasso" (spring 1901)    
Self-portrait "Yo" (summer 1901)    
Self-portrait with Cloak (late 1901)    
Self-portrait with a Palette (1906)    
Self-portrait (1907)    
Self Portrait Facing Death (1972)    
Siphon, Glass, Newspaper, and Violin    
Skull and Pitcher    
The Sleepers (Les dormeurs)    
The Smoker (Homme a la pipe)    
Souvenir de Havre    
Spanish Still Life: Sun and Shadow    
Gertrude Stein    
Still Life (Tate)    
Still Life with Bottle and Glass    
Still Life with Chair-Caning    
Still Life with Death's Head    
Still Life with Fruitdish on a Table    
Still Life on a Piano    
Still Life with Violin and Fruit    
Student with Newspaper    
Three Musicians (MoMA)    
Three Women    
Vase, Bowl, and Lemon    
Violin, Glass, Pipe and Inkpot    
Wine Glass    
Woman and Child on the Seashore    
Woman in an Armchair    
Woman Sitting in an Armchair, 12 October 1941    
Woman with Blue Veil    
Woman with a Cigarette    
Woman with a Fan    
The Young Painter 
Dom - VHS Student 1-12-98, Eastern & Western Thought: a Comparison