1.5.4.3.2 Picasso’s Blue Period (1901-4)

Forward to 1.5.4.3.3 Picasso’s Rose Period (1904-6)
Forward to 1.5.4.4 Fauvism – Forward to 1.5.4.5 Cubism
Back to 1.5.4.3.1 Picasso in 1890s – Back to 1.5.4 Modernisme Index
Forward to 1.5.5 Expressionism Index (1905-1936)

QUICK LINKS:
Yo Picasso, Picasso
Woman in Blue, Picasso
Femme aux Bras Croisés, Picasso

Two Sisters (The Meeting), Picasso
La Vie, Picasso
Acrobat and Young Harlequin, Picasso

The Blue Period of Picasso is the period between 1900 and 1904, when he painted essentially monochromatic paintings in shades of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colours. These reflected his experience of relative poverty and instability, depicting beggars, street urchins, the old and frail and the blind.

These sombre works, inspired by Spain but painted in Paris, are now some of his most popular works, although he had difficulty selling them at the time.

Picasso settled in Paris in 1904, having spent a few difficult years with no fixed studio and little artistic success.

[Source: pablopicasso.org]

[1543-20]

In connection with, or soon after, his first solo exhibition at the principal meeting place of the Barcelona avant-garde, the bohemian tavern Els Quatre Gats, Picasso made a set of small caricatures of the prominent members of the informal club. This self-portrait announces the eighteen-year-old as a mature artist working in a sophisticated Art Nouveau style.
[Source: metmuseum.org]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Yo Picasso (Self Portrait)1901Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Picasso, Pablo1881 – 1973, aged 91Spanish painterBlue period
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1543-21]

Courtauld Gallery, London UK51 x 32  

Image source: artsy.net
Woman in Blue painted in 1901 by a young Picasso at the beginning of his Blue Period, is one of the Reina Sofia’s most important and popular works, with approximately two million visitors viewing it every year.

Over recent decades, following an earlier restoration procedure involving the liberal application of varnish, Woman in Blue became greener than her intended blue. The contrast between lighter and darker areas consequently seemed more muddied, and the painting lost much of its original drama.

The restoration effort carried out by a team of eight experts in the Reina Sofia’s own conservation studio has been completed, and Woman in Blue is back on public display, allowing visitors to view her in all her former glory.

The team carried out close analysis of the painting using the most sophisticated technology, including visible light macro photography, infrared reflectography, UV light and radiography. They removed the layer of varnish in order to reveal the painting’s original colors, also leaving Picasso’s first brushstrokes more clearly visible and more easily appreciated.
[Source: bankofamerica.com]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Woman in Blue (Mujer en azul)1901Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Picasso, Pablo1881 – 1973, aged 91Spanish painterBlue period
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1543-22]

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Calle de Santa Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid, Spain133 x 100  
Femme aux Bras Croisés, depicts a woman with her arms folded staring into nothingness. She is the focal point of the image and is rather simply dressed. Her negative body language of folded arms immediately closes her off from analysis rather cleverly.

In effect, the viewer’s eye rests on the composition of the image, which is dominated by shades of blue connoting a sense of sadness, mystery and evokes intrigue. Through using a dominating colour on canvas with little emphasis on any other, Picasso is able to create many emotions simply by the tone of his image. This coupled with the expression of the woman and her body language, all connote a sense of mystery and intrigue.
[Source: pablopicasso.org]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Femme aux Bras Croisés1902Oil/LithoPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Picasso, Pablo1881 – 1973, aged 91Spanish painterBlue period
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1543-23]

Private collection60 x 81  

Image source: hermitagemuseum.org
Picasso painted this large work in the summer of 1902 in Barcelona. It is one of the most important items of his Blue Period, when the tragic mood of monochrome blue and bluish-green came to determine the whole structure of his paintings.

Art flows from pain and sadness was Picasso’s approach, which he realised with purely Spanish maximalism. He refracts through the prism of unhappiness and sorrow his observations of his friends, of the blind and poor, of sad mothers and prostitutes.

During a visit to Paris, Picasso deliberately visited the Saint-Lazare hospital for prostitutes and made sketches there. On his return to Barcelona he wrote to his friend, the poet Max Jacob, I am going to paint a picture, a drawing for which I am sending you. The meeting of a prostitute from the prison hospital with her sister, a nun.

In its static, symbolic nature, the composition recalls monumental religious art, summoning up direct associations with representations of the meeting of the Virgin Mary and the ageing Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, and with the ascetic figures of medieval mourners.

The women seem to form a human arch, an architectural entrance to a mysterious, cosmically endless world.
[Source: hermitagemuseum.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Two Sisters (The Meeting)1902Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Picasso, Pablo1881 – 1973, aged 91Spanish painterBlue Period
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1543-24]

State Hermitage Museum, Palace Square, 2, St Petersburg, Russia, 190010152 x 100  
For all the countless works of art created over hundreds of years, only a select few have the power to thoroughly mesmerise, confound, and psychologically challenge the observer. Even fewer have the ability to temporarily divorce everyone from their firmly-held artistic preferences and transcend personal biases. They stand on their own merits, as independent artistic entities.

Picasso’s 1903 Blue Period masterpiece La Vie is one such rarity. Pablo Picasso never intended for the world to have a clear understanding of the painting ;La Vie;, now one of the treasured possessions of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
[Source: pablopicasso.org]

Image source: pablopicasso.org
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Vie, La (Life)1903Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Picasso, Pablo1881 – 1973, aged 91Spanish painterBlue period
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1543-25]

Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA197 x 129  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Acrobat and Young Harlequin is a 1905 oil on canvas painting by Pablo Picasso, toward the end of Picasso’s Blue Period and the outset of his Rose Period.

The work displays characteristics of both, with its melancholic subject and its blue and rose palette.

Picasso created the painting while at the Le Bateau-Lavoir, his home and studio in Montmartre, Paris.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Acrobat and Young Harlequin1905Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Picasso, Pablo1881 – 1973, aged 91Spanish painterBlue period
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):  
Barnes Foundation, 300 N Latches Ln, Merion Station, PA 19066, USA191 x 108  

Forward to 1.5.4.3.3 Picasso’s Rose Period (1904-6)
Forward to 1.5.4.4 Fauvism – Forward to 1.5.4.5 Cubism
Back to 1.5.4.3.1 Picasso in 1890s – Back to 1.5.4 Modernisme Index
Forward to 1.5.5 Expressionism Index (1905-1936)

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