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Though born in the 19th century (1881), Pablo Picasso was for more than 60 years of the 20th century literally the center of the Art universe. Even today in the 21st century, Picasso’s influence is still pronounced. This tiny man had an outsized impact on the world since almost every artistic current or trend came through his studio or bore his influence. Up until his death in 1973 this painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright was one of the most significant people in the world.
Dr. Doug Mishler’s presentation will focus on Picasso’s most formative years between 1900 and 1910, his Paris years. These years transformed the 19 year-old prodigy Pablo Ruiz into the infamous Picasso and with him the entire idea of what art was as well as the cultural values of the 20th century.
From his youth Pablo’s genius and artistic drive were almost superhuman in scope. Those gifts also made him remarkably complex; he had tremendous charisma as well as a mercurial temperament. His drive was so extreme (working 10-12 hours straight) that all human concerns melted away. Yet outside the studio his focus was never certain. He oozed the emotionalism for which Spain was so famous. He was in turn gregarious or sullen. He treated people with either incredible generosity or amazing disregard and even cruelty–often nearly simultaneously.
His passion was to create more powerful and subversive art to better capture what he saw in life. The brash colors and alterations of reality his Modernist friend and competitor Henri Matisse created in 1905 motivated Picasso to break away from even these subversive norms, creating cubism.
In 1907 his cubist masterpiece Les Demoiselles d’Avignon so shattered all conventions that even his Modernist friends were disturbed by his “losing his sanity.” Matisse found the work too radical. Undeterred, Pablo kept working in Cubism, his new artistic language for exploring the human condition. He also started to work on collage and cubist sculpture. By 1910 Picasso had literally changed the way humanity looked at the world and it would never be the same!