Bleu et rose. Picasso

There’s no need to describe Pablo Picasso—everyone knows about him, and most of us have come across one or more of his works in an exhibition or museum, since he was extremely prolific.
For me, most enchanting were his early works, the Blue and Rose periods, which visitors to Paris have the chance to admire at the Musée d’Orsay. The exhibition is a collaboration between the museum and the Musée National Picasso, and has gathered major works that focus on the period from 1900 to 1906.

 

 

Picasso was a fantastic draughtsman, and could produce detailed academic drawings with great ease. In his paintings, however, he expressed his highly personal viewpoint, often distorting body parts, foreshortening limbs or elongating fingers.

 

 

It is difficult to comprehend today, but at the time he was derided  for this by art critics, and floundered in the teeming artistic milieu of Paris, until he was picked up by American art patron Gertrude Stein. Although they did not speak each other’s language, they became friends, and she had a major influence on his career. He painted her portrait, which everyone agreed did not look at all like her, but which eventually became one his most famous portraits. After 1919 he was giving her paintings for free, since he had become so successful that she could no longer afford to buy them!

 

 

Picasso painted prostitutes, blind men, drunks, but also babies and children. He was moved by the notions of family and motherhood. His palette made up of blues gives off an aura of melancholy. He was also inspired by other artists of his time, such as Van Gogh and Gaugin, whose influence can be seen in some of his work.

 

 

It is amazing that these paintings were made when Picasso was only 20 or 21. The blue period lasted until 1904, when hints of pink started creeping into his palette, to evolve into the rose period,  where joyful pinks, reds and  oranges dominated, and his subjects were harlequins and circus people. This lasted for just two years, and ended with the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, the first painting of the cubist period.

 

 

It is also astonishing how prolific Picasso was. He left behind tens of thousands of works,  even though, when he was young and broke, he reused canvasses and even burnt drawings for warmth.

 

 

Anyone within reach of Paris should go and see this exhibition—it is just wonderful. I left unsure whether to be greatly inspired or simply throw my pens and brushes in the bin and take up knitting!

 

29 thoughts on “Bleu et rose. Picasso

  1. We are so familiar with these works that it is hard to see what outraged so many at the time, and how cutting edge his works were. They must be wonderful to see in the flesh.
    I agree with Chatter master ~ do not throw away your brushes and pens! (Besides, if you took up knitting you would probably find that Picasso knitted something stunning! 😉)

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  2. With Picasso, I am always torn between profound admiration for his work and and an even more profound abhorrence for how he treated the women in his life. These earlier works are freer of that darkness and I have always preferred them. I admire your work for its clean beauty, exuberance of colour and enjoyment of the world around you. There is no darkness in your painting…

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    1. Yes, he was a monster. I suppose you can’t have everything…sigh. I can always congratulate myself I’m nicer than him, though not as talented🤣🤣🤣 Thanks for the encouragement, Kate.

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  3. Thank you for all the photos of Picasso’s blue and rose periods. My favorite is The Lovers, which I saw in the National Gallery in Washington DC but I do love his paintings from this period. It’s interesting that he was so young when painting these, proof of his mastery when most people (me) are trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives.

    Please don’t give up your art – I love how you’ve progressed over the years, combining fantasy with realism.

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  4. Even though Picasso was a genius I would hang your paintings on my home wall before I used Picasso’s. Your paintings (as I have seen on your blog) are immediate, brilliant, and accessible!.

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  5. Inspired, definitely! 😊 I’ve also visited Musée d’Orsay and felt that Picasso’s earlier works are the ones that moved me most. Who knows how someone in the future may feel about your work?

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    1. Yes, it’s always hard to imagine how this kind of work was seen at the time. His first dealer, I forget the name, bought the entire contents of his studio for 2000 francs, which enabled him to go on some trip to Spain or something. When you think how much his works sell for today at auction, it boggles the mind.

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  6. Don’t do that, Marina! 😀 Be inspired by the great art you’ve viewed and thank you for sharing with us here. A wonderful virtual tour of the exhibition and it’s interesting to learn about his work.

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