WWW Artist Series – Picasso #8 – 9 Things Few Know About Picasso

Picasso With Gun

Pablo Picasso: Wacky, Weird, Wild, or Just Plain Savvy?


[Dr. DJ continues this 10-part series. In Episode #11. Dr. DJ will explain who he believes should be the receiver of the WWW Artist Award (and Why, of course!)]

Pablo Picasso (1908 – 1973)

My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.”  -Pablo Picasso


9 incredible things few know about Picasso

  1. Let’s start with his name… 23 words long!

Right off the bat, weird: 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. WHY????

He was named after various saints and relatives. “Picasso” – the name that stuck was not from his father, but from his mother, Maria Picasso y Lopez. His father was named Jose Ruiz Blasco.    

[Wouldn’t you have loved to be a fly on the wall when he applied for his driver’s license?]                                                                                                                                  

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” ― Pablo Picasso

Pablo was not only prolific in art, but his quotes have been requoted over and over. One famous quote attributed to Robert Kennedy came from Picasso (without giving credit to Pablo).

“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”


2. Picasso was the most prolific of the well-known artists

In his life he produced 147,800 pieces – 13,500 paintings, 100,000 prints and engravings, 300 sculptures and ceramics, and 34,000 illustrations. Not bad for a 78-year career.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” ― Pablo Picasso

3. Picasso was left for dead at birth

His birth was so difficult, and he was born so weak, that the midwife thought he was stillborn and cut the umbilical cord and left him lying on a table while she tended to the distressed mother. The doctor arrived, saw the child and realized he had somehow returned to life and saved him.

“God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style; He just goes on trying other things.” ― Pablo Picasso

4. Picasso was a bad boy in school

Picasso hated being told what to do, so he wound up in detention a LOT. The next quote speaks to that.

“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. Picasso invented the movement known as cubism.

Along with George Braque, Picasso began the cubist movement around 1908, which many do not realize opened a door, inspiring and spawning many other departure arts: Orphism, Abstract art, Purism, Futurism, Suprematism, Dada, Constructivism, De Still and Art Deco.

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” ― Pablo Picasso

Girl with a Mandolin – 1910

6. Picasso’s self-ordained branding with the striped shirt

Picasso’s iconic shirt is a Breton-striped shirt which, in 1858, became the official uniform for French seamen in Brittany. Picasso was also a leader in fashion, and his Breton striped t-shirt was designed by Coco Chanel. The 21 horizontal stripes represent each of Napoleon’s victories.

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” ― Pablo Picasso

7. Picasso was prolific in other ways.

Picasso had four different children by three different women, but he was married twice.

“An artist must forget painting when he paints. That’s the only way he will do original work.”
― Pablo Picasso

Man With a Pipe (missing Cubist piece by Picasso)

8. More of Picasso’s paintings have been stolen than those of any other artist.

It is estimated that over 350 of Picasso’s paintings have been stolen, including, Man with a Pipe, missing from Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin, since 1998 (between 27 July and 2 August), having disappeared while in transit on loan. Estimated value at the time was $2,000,000. Today, it’s estimated worth would be over $50,000,000.

“Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.” ― Pablo Picasso

9. The Last Words of Pablo Picasso

Picasso died in style while entertaining his guests at a dinner party, on April 8, 1973, in Mouglins, in southeastern France. Picasso’s last words were “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink anymore.” He was interred at Castle Vauvenargues’ park, in Vauvenargues, Bouches-du-Rhone, in the South of France.

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” ― Pablo Picasso

Picasso’s advice to artists

For some artists, success is a dirty word. It could mean compromising integrity or debasing innate creativity. Pablo Picasso begged to differ. “It’s often been said that an artist ought to work for himself, for the ‘love of art,’ [and] that he ought to have contempt for success. Untrue!” he told his friend and fellow artist, Brassaï, in 1944. “An artist needs success.”

Should artists be concerned about money for their art? Picasso sums up a significant conundrum for those who make their living in the art world. Seems someone visited his studio, stood in front of a painting for several minutes, and asked Picasso, “What does it represent?” Picasso replied without hesitation, “Two hundred thousand dollars.”

It is okay to make money with your art. The question is, should an artist “cater to the crowd”? Each artist must make that decision for themselves. This artist does tall wall art for a commercial reason but believes it no challenge at all to do both…spend half the time painting for yourself, and half for “the crowd”, i.e., what sells. When rich enough, quit creating for anyone but yourself…and the crowd will cater to you!


NOTE: See Picasso’s works at MOMA

Who will be in WWW #9??? Wait and see!!!

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