Our Artists

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso was a major 20th century artist and his work needs to be appreciated in its particular historical and cultural context: the development of Cubism, the 1914-1918 War, his participation in Surrealist Art, the Spanish Civil War, the 1939-1945 War and his links with the Communist Party... 


The artist’s youth

Pablo Picasso was born in Andalusia where he spent the early years of his life.  When his father was appointed as a teacher at the Barcelona School of Fine Art, the whole family moved to Catalonia. Picasso joined the Barcelona School of Fine Art as a pupil at the age of 14, and then joined the Royal Academy in Madrid.

After a period of classical study, he discovered the bohemian lifestyle, frequented cabarets and brothels and made friends, notably with Casagemas, whose suicide in 1901 affected him deeply: the representation of his dead friend was the beginning of his Blue Period, which lasted from 1901 to 1904 (a period marked by themes of death and pain).  After this came the Pink Period (a happy time with soft colours characterised by his pictures of acrobats) from 1904 to 1906 and the period of African influence from 1907 to 1909.

Cubism 1907-1914

From 1904, Picasso settled in France in a workshop in Montmartre, the “Bateau-Lavoir”, a name given to it by Max Jacob. He met Fernande Olivier and visited Gertrude Stein and Guillaume Apollinaire.

In 1907 the great Cézanne retrospective took place.  Picasso met Georges Braque with whom he worked to create cubism, which was almost unknown at the time.

1914-1918 War

The declaration of war put an end to the collaboration between Braque and Picasso. In 1917, the Russian Ballet offered him work in Italy: there here met Olga, one of the dancers from the Russian Ballet, whom he married the following year.  Paul was born from this union in 1921.  Picasso’s work at this time was characterised by a return to a more classical form of art. 


However, from 1925 his work took a completely different turn, marked by his rapprochement with surrealist art.   He searched for unusual forms, especially in sculpture.

Spanish Civil War / World War 1939-1945 / Communism

On the 27th April, at the request of General Franco, the German air force bombarded the small Basque village of Guernica. This event tragically disrupted Picasso’s career.  It was at this time that he was associated with Dora Maar. He painted Guernica which was exhibited in the Republican pavilion at the Paris World Fair. A real instrument of war, this painting brought him into contact with the French Communist Party of which he became a member. 

The Vallauris period

After the war, Picasso moved to Vallauris with Françoise Gilot, his friend and the mother of his children Claude and Paloma. He began a new career as a ceramic artist. His last works were created in Provence: paintings, sculptures and terracotta....  he married his last wife and muse Jacqueline Roque in 1961.


See Pablo Picasso’s list of works.


All Picasso exhibitions on the official website.

Useful links

Pablo Picasso’s official biography.

Pablo Picasso’s family tree

Picasso’s workshops in Spain

The official Pablo Picasso website blog

Picasso Museum in Paris

Picasso Museum in Antibes

Picasso Museum in Vallauris

Picasso Museum in Barcelona

See the complete list of Picasso museums

Read the Pompidou Centre’s teaching document 

Pablo Picasso 's products at Nouvelles Images

> Prints and posters

Prints and posters The Red Armchair, 1931 Prints and posters Guernica Prints and posters The Face of Peace Prints and posters Evening Flowers

> Postcards

Postcards Maternity

> Greeting cards

Greeting cards Evening Flowers

> Transfert

Transfert Silhouette Transfert Portrait of Françoise Transfert The face of peace Transfert Toros y toreros - Scène de corrida, la pose de banderilles , 3-4*-9 / Carnet de dessin ( folio 12 recto )

Nationality(ies) : Spanish
Born on : 25/10/1881
Died on : 08/04/01973
Profile : Ceramist, Designer, Engraver, Painter, Sculptor
Artistic current(s) : Cubism, Surrealism
Theme(s) covered : Animals, Events, Landscapes - Nature, Policy, Portraits - Characters, Travel, Colors and materials

Pablo Picasso (PH0531)