Pablo Picasso collectibles
Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) was a Spanish painter and sculptor, and has been described as “the most potent single force in the art of the 20th century.”He is celebrated as one of the most influential figures in modern art, and as the father of the Cubist movement. He was also highly influential in the movements of Fauvism, Expressionism and Surrealism.
Throughout his life he worked in a number of different styles and mediums creating paintings, drawings, collages, ceramics and sculpture. Picasso always denied any form of evolution in his style, saying:
“Different themes inevitably require different methods of expression….this does not imply either evolution or progress; it is a matter of following the idea one wants to express and the way in which one wants to express it.”
However, his life and work can be categorised by a number of ‘periods’ during which his work took on certain characteristics, themes and techniques. These are:
Blue period (1901 – 1904)
Rose period (1904 – 1906)
African period (1907 – 1909)
Cubism (1907 – 1917)
Classicism and Surrealism (1918 – 1936)
Wartime works (1939 – 1945)
Later works (1946 – 1973)
Each of these ‘periods’ displays a different set of attitudes and emotions that are evident in their work.
He remained creatively active until the end of his life, and many of his later works can be seen as Neo-Expressionism ahead of its time. His work was sometimes playfully absurd, but often heavily political with many of his darkest works focusing on the devastating consequences of war.
Many of Picasso’s paintings are amongst the most expensive ever sold either privately or at auction. The record price for his work is held by the painting ‘Nude, Green Leaves and Bust’ (1932), which sold at a Christie’s auction in May 2010 for a record price of $106.5 million.
This sale broke the previous record, held by ‘Garçon à la Pipe’ (1905) created during his Rose period. At an auction in New York by Sotheby’s in 2004 it was sold to anonymous buyer for $104,168,000 (including buyer’s premium).
At another Sotheby’s sale in May 2006 his painting ‘Dora Maar au Chat’ (1941), which had not been seen in public for more than 40 years, sold to an anonymous bidder for $95.2 million.
Other notable sales of Picasso’s work include:
- ‘Au Lapin Agile’ (1904) - $40.7 million (Sotheby’s, 1989)
- ‘Acrobate et jeune Arlequin’ (1905) - $38.5 million (Christie’s, 1988)
- ‘Femme aux Bras Croisés’ (1902) - $55 million (Christie’s, 2000)
- ‘Le Rêve’ (1932) - $48.4 million (Christie’s, 1997)
- ‘Femme assise dans un jardin’ (1938) - $49.6 million (Sotheby’s, 1999)
- ‘La Lecture’ (1932) - £25.2 million (Sotheby’s 2011)
Perhaps Picasso’s most famous work, never sold at auction, is his giant anti-war mural ‘Guernica' (1937). Commissioned by the Spanish Republican government for the 1937 Paris World’s Fair, the painting was Picasso’s reaction to the German and Italian bombing of the town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. It is currently on display at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
On 20 February 2005, a copy of Picasso's autograph was sold by Alexander Autographs for $4,500.
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