It’s likely that most people will have heard of the name ‘Picasso’, even if they do not consider themselves an art lover. That’s because Pablo Picasso was a prolific creator of art who completed more than 1800 paintings, more than 1200 sculptures, more than 2500 ceramic works, more than 10000 drawings and many tapestries during his career. He was a painter, sculptor, print-maker and poet who is widely hailed as one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century.
Here at New Lanark, we are delighted to be opening our new Exhibition Gallery with a stunning exhibition, ARTIST TEXTILES Picasso to Warhol from 26 January – 29 April 2018. The exhibition traces 20th century art in textiles and vintage fashions with highlights including prints of work by Picasso, Warhol, Dali and Matisse. ARTIST TEXTILES was curated by the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, and has previously toured internationally to the Netherlands, USA and Canada.
This will be the first time the collection of over 200 rare and vintage pieces have been shown in Scotland!
To celebrate the exhibition we are going to be sharing a series of ‘Artist in Focus’ blog posts, to let you know more about these fascinating artists whose work will be shown at New Lanark…
Artist in Focus: Pablo Picasso
1. Picasso’s Full Name Has 23 Words
Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso. He was named after various saints and relatives. The “Picasso” is actually from his mother, Maria Picasso y Lopez. His father is named Jose Ruiz Blasco.
2. Picasso’s first word
Picasso’s mother claimed that his first word was “piz,” short of lápiz the Spanish word for ‘pencil.’ It’s like he was born to be an artist! At the age of 7, Picasso’s father Ruiz, who was also a painter and art professor, began to give him a formal education in art, focussing on drawing techniques and oil painting.
3. Picasso’s first paintings
Two years later, at the tender young age of 9, Picasso completed his first painting: Le picador, a man riding a horse in a bullfight. At the age of thirteen, Picasso studied at the School of fine Arts in Barcelona – at this point his father vowed to give up painting as he felt his son had surpassed him!
At the age of 15 Picasso completed his first major painting, an “academic” work named ‘First Communion’, featuring a portrait of his father, mother, and younger sister kneeling before an altar. At the age of 16, Picasso entered the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid.
4. Picasso at school
Despite his clear artistic abilities, Picasso was not a committed student and he frequently missed classes. He particularly didn’t like being told what to do, and was often sent to ‘detention’, which might not have been much of a punishment after all:
For being a bad student I was banished to the ‘calaboose’ – a bare cell with whitewashed walls and a bench to sit on. I liked it there, because I took along a sketch pad and drew incessantly … I could have stayed there forever drawing without stopping ”
– Pablo Picasso
5. Cubism: Full of Little Cubes
In 1909, Picasso and French artist Georges Braque (whose work is also shown in ARTIST TEXTILES) co-founded an art movement known as cubism. Actually, it was a French art critic Louis Vauxcelles who first called it “bizarre cubiques” or cubism, after noting that Picasso and Braque’s paintings are “full of little cubes.”
6. “Minotaurs and Matadors”
In the 1930s Picasso became fascinated with the mythical creature the Minotaur, a creature with the body of a man and head of a bull. It appeared in many of his pieces of art such as La Minotauromachie VII (1935). Apparently Picasso identified himself with this creature, its human and animal principle, locked in a maze, hidden from sunlight. In 2017,”Minotaurs and Matadors” – an exhibition curated by Sir John Richardson in partnership with Gagosian and Picasso’s grandson, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, opened in London. The exhibition examined the intersection of Picasso’s bullfighting imagery with his mythological and biographical compositions of the 1930s.
If all the ways I have been along were marked on a map and joined up with a line, it might represent a Minotaur.
7. Did Picasso steal the Mona Lisa?
Actually no, but in 1911, when the famous painting Mona Lisa of Leonardo da Vinci was stolen from the Louvre, the police took in Picasso’s friend, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Apollinaire fingered Picasso as a suspect, so the police hauled him in for questioning. Both were later released.
8. Most expensive artwork sold at auction
In 2015 Picasso’s ‘Women of Algiers (Version O)’ set a new world record for the most expensive artwork to be sold at auction after reaching $179m (£115m) in New York. The painting had been expected to exceed $140m before the auction but the final price far exceeded those estimates in a sale at Christie’s auction house at a time when collectors’ appetite for masterpieces of impressionist, modern and contemporary art was increasing. Women of Algiers, once owned by the American collectors Victor and Sally Ganz, was inspired by Picasso’s fascination with the 19th-century French artist Eugène Delacroix. It is part of a 15-work series Picasso created in 1954-1955 designated with the letters A to O. It has appeared in several major museum retrospectives of the artist.
Picasso’s record was broken at the end of 2017 when Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ sold for an astonishing $400m (£304m). The picture, of a serene-looking Christ dressed in blue and holding an orb, is one of fewer than 20 works by Leonardo still in existence, and was one of only 10 in history to be sold at auction. Yet most predicted it would sell for about $120m, less than the record-breaking $179.4m which was paid for Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger in 2015.
9. Moving to France
In between his Blue (1901 – 1904) and Rose (1904 – 1906) Periods, Pablo Picasso moved to France. In 1900, Pablo Picasso spent time in Paris for the first time. He shared a room with Max Jacob, a poet and journalist, and Picasso learnt how to speak and read French. In Paris he met and became good friends with the artist Henri Matisse (whose work is also shown in ARTIST TEXTILES). Throughout the early part of the 20th century, Picasso spent time living in both Paris and Barcelona. In 1918 Picasso got married to Olga Khokhlova, a Russian ballerina. they remained legally married until 1955, but they separated in about 1927. During World War 2, Picasso lived in occupied Paris. He continued to produce art but he didn’t exhibit any of his work during the war years.
10. Taking on textile projects…
In the early 1960s, Picasso agreed to design for two almost unknown textile projects, both launched in 1963. In this period, Picasso was allowing his pictures to be printed on almost any fabric, save upholstery. The sofa was a line he wouldn’t cross, as the curators of ARTIST TEXTILES note: ‘Picassos may be leaned against, not sat on.’ Visitors to ARTIST TEXTILES at New Lanark will be able to see a range of Picasso prints used within vintage garments and large textile prints.
Thank you for reading. I hope we have inspired you to visit the fascinating ARTIST TEXTILES exhibition at New Lanark, where you can see prints of Picasso’s work alongside a host of other talented artists including Warhol, Dali and Matisse.
Melissa – New Lanark Marketing and PR Officer