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Twentieth Century Artists and Abstract Impressionism

             Pablo Picasso (1881-1969) was born in Spain. His father was an artist who recognized his son's talent at the age of thirteen. In 1895, Pablo was admitted to the advanced classes in classical art and still life in the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona where his father accepted a post. For the next ten years he studied the developments of the nineteenth century from Realism to Symbolism and most of the advanced painting in France. .
             He moved to Paris in 1904 and began painting in essentially the Symbolist style. He used the color blue to express a feeling of melancholy along with slow moving, sinuous, and elongated linearity as seen in the painting The Old Guitarist (1903). Most of his subjects were either poor or handicapped in some way to reinforce this feeling of melancholy he evoked. Then, by mid 1905, he abandoned the 'blue' paintings and completed a series of rose-colored works on the theme of circus people which was inspired by his frequent visits to the Medrano Circus with his artist friends (Art of the Western World Study Guide. Stewart, Macek, Gealt, & Jaffe. 1989). The Family of Saltimbanques portrayed a group of six figures which some feel was a precursor for his most famous painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907). This latter painting was the result of a direct influence of Paul Cézanne's later work of using compressed space and sharp angles. He was also influenced by the discovery of Egyptian art, using the almond shaped eyes for some of his figures.
             Around 1909, Picasso developed a new art form called Cubism along with the French artist Georges Braque. Rejecting perceptual reality, objects were organized in terms of flat planes using mostly monochromatic paints. These were "composed of elements taken from conceived rather than perceived reality," according to Guiollaume Apollinaire (The Beginnings of Cubism. 1912). This became known as Analytical Cubism.

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