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The Genius of Picasso

Gertrude Stein, influences for Cubism, sculpture, reinterpretation of the Masters
by

Hannah Schwartz

on 30 November 2011

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Transcript of The Genius of Picasso

Pablo and Gertrude Their First Encounter Leo takes Gertrude to Clovis Sagot's gallery to view Picasso's "Jeune Fille aux Fleurs"
Gertrude was shocked and appalled by the portrayal of the girl's legs and feet, and when asked by her brother if she would like to meet Picasso she sulked and refused to meet the painter of the girl with "feet like a monkey"
A few days later, Leo invited Picasso and his mistress Fernande over for dinner and Gertrude sheds her prejudice "That evening, Gertrude Stein's brother took out a portfolio after portfolio of Japanese prints to show Picasso...Picasso solemnly and obediently look at print after print and listened to their descriptions. He said under his breath to Gertrude Stein, he is very nice, your brother, but like all Americans, he shows you Japanese prints. Moi j'aime pas ca, no I do not care for it...Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso immediately understood each other" Pablo Picasso, "Jeune Fille aux Fleurs "(1905) Creation of the perfect portrait In 1905, fascinated by Gertrude's complex personality and appearance, Picasso asks to paint her
The first time in 8 years since Picasso used a model, and Gertrude claims to have sat around 90 times
During three months or so spent together, Gertrude and Picasso generated a powerful charge between them that went beyond friendship- creating a bond that lasted a lifetime
Pablo Picasso, "Portrait of Gertrude Stein" (1906) Impact of the Portrait The foreshadowing of cubism becomes apparent Less preoccupation with the pathos (appealing to emotion) of the sitter

Use of line becomes heavier as his drawings become more solid

Translating his influence of Iberian and African sculpture into his portrait work

Fascination with primitivism begins to show through his focus on facial planes rather than characteristics

Use of a monotone or earthen palette Also, some of the studies for "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" were created when Picasso struggled at the end to finish Gertrude's mask-like face Detail from "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" (1907) Picasso's Three Major Influences of "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" 1. African Masks Summer of 1907 Picasso visits the ethnographic museum at the Palais du Trocadero in Paris with Matisse and Derain
Subsequently began collecting African masks, statuettes and other items, the pursuit of African works became a real pleasure for him
Fascinated by the masks' simplication of forms into lines and planes detail of "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" and an African mask Picasso with his African art collection and "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" Iberian Sculpture Once again, Picasso was intrigued and influenced by the primitivism of pre-Roman Iberian Sculpture
Picasso claims that Iberian sculpture was the first influence of "Les Demoiselles", instead of historians most common associations with African Art
The left three womens' faces of "Les Demoiselles" clearly depict Iberian qualities, with robust porportions and archaic features
Other influences of Iberian sculpture can be found in other "African Period" Picasso pieces, ie "Self Portrait" 1906 and "Head of a Woman" 1907 Paul Cezanne The Father of Cubism Cezanne bridged the gap between Impressionism and Cubism

Unsatisfied with the impermanence of Impression, Cezanne wanted to find a style that incorporated the solidity and balance of classical paintings while still painting what he saw

"Penetrate what is before you and express yourself as logically as possible"
-Cezanne

Cezanne uses color to establish depth and changes the direction of his brushwork to create different planes Paul Cezanne, "Self Portrait" 1873 La Montagne Sainte-Victoire Geometric shapes of color to show depth and structure

Visible brushwork denotes different planes

Cezanne would look at the scene before him, find all the geometric shapes and combine them all in a center point Paul Cezanne, "La Mont. Sainte-Victoire" 1904 Still Life Cezanne's most famous still life, "The Kitchen Table," 1895, changed the course of modern art Provides the viewer with numerous viewpoints

Changes the scale of different items

Experiments with perspective of the background
Above Straight-on Huge pear to balance right side of canvas Cezanne's "Bathers" Cezanne figured out how to incorporate figures into landscapes to create a cohesive composition with lines that flow together
The figures naturally meld into the background because of continuous lines A New Definition of Sculpture Picasso, "Houses on a Hill, Horta" 1909 Picasso, "Guitar" 1912 Picasso's 1912-14 constructions in wood, cardboard, paper, string and other materials serve as some of the most important innovations in the history of sculpture

At the time, the human figure was the main subject of sculpture, and Picasso's assault on historic material and subject-matter sanctions gave sculpture a new freedom

--For the first time in history, Picasso made it possible to literally "make" a piece of sculpture, ie assemble it out of parts Many of Picasso's sculptural innovations emerged through his developments in cubist collage Until the introduction of collage, the sculptural components of Cubism only existed in illusion
Once Picasso started to cut out and paste pieces of textured paper and newspaper together, he moved into the area of physical making
Cutting and glueing collage elements represents a mode far more concrete and complex than what is implied by the use of brush and pencil Picasso, "Glass, Bottle, and Guitar" 1912 In 1912, Picasso started creating sculpture out of paper, cardboard, string, wood, thin sheet metal, and found objects, shifting the roles between art and life Picasso, "Guitar" 1913 Studio at 242 Boulevard Raspail, Paris 1912 Picasso, "Glass and Dice" 1914 Picasso, "Still-Life with Fringe" 1914 Object, painting, collage, and sculpture achieve equilibrium
The composition becomes a wholly new object, made up of separate but still recognizable parts Painting- Still-life is a familiar subject in painting, and all of the surfaces except the fringe are painted


Collage- Powerful and irregular profile, layers of uniform thickness and varied texture


Sculpture- Raw wood, visable nail-heads, a table-top that protrudes into a 'real' space free of the wall, and free-hanging fringe Picasso, "Houses on a Hill, Horta" 1909 vs Paul Cezanne, "Rocky Landscape, Aix" 1885 Picasso's painting is far more sculptural in effect,
along with being more abstract in general


Depth = Tactile Although Cezanne's illusioned space is much deeper, the colors, brushstrokes, and attention to certain areas over others on the canvas make it clear to the viewer that it is only a painting

Depth = Visual Picasso, "Tete de femme" 1909 The sculpture "Woman's Head (Fernande)" 1909, helped Picasso conceptualize the break of solid volume into shifting masses suggestive of varying perspectives, a fundamental foundation in the development of cubism In Picasso's work, the transformation from everyday item to sculptural element is never complete, and much of the great visual wit of the objects comes from the dialogue between this juxtaposition. Picasso, "Head of a Bull" 1943 "It is better to copy a drawing or painting than try to be inspired by it, to make something similar. In that case, one risks painting only the faults of his model. A painter's atelier should be a laboratory. One doesn't do a monkey's job here: one invents. Painting is a jeu d'espirit."
--Pablo Picasso, 1945 Impressed by Cezanne's compostitional structure, Picasso directly used figures from Cezanne's "Bathers" series as models for "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon"
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