No other artist is more associated with the term Modern Art than Pablo Picasso. He created thousands of paintings, prints, sculptures and ceramics during a time span of about 75 years. For many Picasso is the greatest art genius of the twentieth century. Undisputed is the fact that he influenced and dominated the art of the twentieth century like no other modern artist.
Pablo Picasso was born on October 25, 1881 in Malaga, Spain, as the son of an art and drawing teacher. He was a brilliant student. He passed the entrance examination for the Barcelona School of Fine Arts at the age of 14 in just one day and was allowed to skip the first two classes. His progress can be traced in the collection of early works now held by the Museu Picasso in Barcelona, which provides one of the most comprehensive records extant of any major artist’s beginnings.
During his lifetime, the artist went through different periods of characteristic painting styles. Picasso’s work is often categorized into periods. While the names of many of his later periods are debated, the most commonly accepted periods in his work are the Blue Period (1901-1904), the Rose Period (1905-1907), the African-influenced Period (1908-1909), Analytic Cubism (1909-1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912-1919).
In 1939-40 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, under its director Alfred Barr, a Picasso enthusiast, held a major and highly successful retrospective of his principal works up until that time. This exhibition lionized the artist, brought into full public view in America the scope of his artistry, and resulted in a reinterpretation of his work by contemporary art historians and scholars.