Brief Picasso Bio

A brief biography . . .

As with many art-forms, there is no specific date when the style began. Certainly, Picasso’s ground-breaking Les Desmoiselles d'Avignon (1907), in which he depicted five prostitutes in Avignon, was the precursor of Cubism. There is no disagreement as to who the pioneers were. Picasso and Georges Braque met in 1907. Both were impressed and influenced by the later works of Paul Cézanne. Braque was very moved by Picasso’s Les Desmoiselles, and went on to interpret Picasso’s style when he painted his own Large Nude in 1908. Later that year, Braque went on to create Maisons à l'Estaque and Road near L'Estaque , which were very much in the Cubist style. In fact, upon viewing the works, art critic Louis Vauxcelles was prompted to refer to his works as “ bizarreries cubiques” (“cubic oddities”), which was the genesis of the genre’s name. Cubism used the canvas as a very two-dimensional platform, where nuances of the third dimension were created through a geometric treatment in the other two dimensions. In its early form, cubism was very discernable in terms of subject matter—it easy to see, if not understand, what the artist was seeking to achieve. In the case of Picasso, he painted both still lifes and figures as a matter of routine. The influence of the new artform was adopted and further developed by a number of artists other than Picasso and Braque, including Fernand Léger, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Juan Gris , Roger de la Fresnaye , Marcel Duchamp, Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger and Diego Rivera. As Cubism moved from its second to its third year, it became increasingly abstract, often being impossible to recognize the subject matter. It became important for the artist to immerse him- or herself into the full realization that reality needed to be subjugated to artistic form. Ultimately, as Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis theories were taking root, whereby the subconscious and, better yet, unconscious minds were tapped, a basis was laid for two of the next movements in art— Dada and then Surrealism. Reality was not only being worked around, it was consciously rejected. When Georges Braque visited Picasso’s Parisian studio in the first months of 1907, a relationship was immediately forged—one that would, like the Cubism they created, simultaneously have various perspectives. They were personal friends, colleagues, pathfinders and rivals. For the next five years, they were constantly visiting the other’s studio, and constantly building on the other’s accomplishments.

Les Desmoiselles d'Avignon (1907)

Georges Braque, Large Nude (1908)

[We were] roped together like mountain climbers. “

Georges Braque, discussing his relationship with Picasso


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