Pablo Picasso’s Bequest Of Gertrude Pablo Picasso was a very famous artist in his time. I have always found his work very interesting and unique. He has a style all his own and, I believe that this was what made him so famous and at the same time controversial. The painting I have chosen is called “Gertrude”. Pablo Picasso was born in Spain to Jose Ruiz and Maria Picasso. He later adopted his mother’s more distinguished maiden name Picasso.
Picasso was a child prodigy who was recognized as such by his art-teacher father who ably led him along. Picasso was taught for a few years and after he attended the Academy of fine art in Curna Spain where his father taught. Picasso’s early drawings such as, Study of A Torso, After A Plaster Cast (1894-1895 Musee Picasso, Paris, France) demonstrates the high level of technical proficiency he had accomplished by the age of 14 years old. (Encarta 2000) Picasso’s artwork is classified as modern art witch started in the early 1880’s to the mid 1970’s. In 1885 his family moved to Barcelona, Spain after his father obtained a teaching post at that city’s academy of fine Arts. Picasso was admitted to advanced classes in the academy after he completed in a single day the entrance examination that applicants were traditionally given a month to complete.
In 1897 Picasso left Barcelona to further his study at the San Fernando academy in Madrid witch was located in the Spanish capital. His academic studies did not last long in Madrid. He was unhappy with the training he was receiving and he left and returned back to his home in Barcelona Spain. Picasso visited Paris some time around the early 1900’s. After that visit he decided that he would move back and fourth between Spain and Paris.
He did this until 1904 when he finally settled down in the French capital. At this time Picasso started to explore and experiment with different art styles that were modern. This portion of his life is called the blue period. This was because of the blue tones Picasso’s paintings had. During the year of 1905 to 1906 a radical change took place in Picasso’s style of painting once again.
His choice of colors and mood were evident in this period of his life. He used subtle pinks and grays that were often highlighted by brighter tones. This was tone as his rose period. (Rodenbeck, Compton’s, Joseph) Along with her brother Leo, Gertrude Stein was among the first Americans to respond with enthusiasm to the artistic revolution in Europe in the early years of the twentieth century. The weekly salons she held in her Paris apartment became a magnet for European and American artists and writers alike, and her support of Matisse, Braque, Girls, and Picasso was evident in her many acquisitions of their work. For Picasso, this early patronage and friendship was of major importance.
Picasso’s portrait of the expatriate writer was begun in 1905, at the end of his Harlequin period and before he took up Cubism. Stein is shown seated in a large armchair, wearing her favorite brown velvet coat and skirt. Her impressive demeanor and massive body are aptly suggested by the monumental depiction. In her book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1932), Stein described the making of this picture: Picasso had never had anybody pose for him since he was sixteen years old. He was then twenty-four and Gertrude had never thought of having her portrait painted, and they do not know either of them how it came about.
In any case, it did, and she posed for this portrait ninety times. There was a large broken armchair where Gertrude Stein posed. There was also a couch where everybody sat and slept. There was a little kitchen chair where Picasso sat to paint. There was a large easel and there were many canvases. She took her pose, Picasso sat very tight in his chair and very close to his canvas and on a very small palette, which was of a brown gray color, mixed some more brown gray and the painting began, and he created the rich earth tones that we see in the painting.
Without warning one day Picasso painted out the whole head. “I can’t see you anymore when I look, he said irritably”, and so the picture was left like that. Picasso actually completed the head after a trip to Spain in fall 1906. His reduction of the figure to simple masses and the face to a mask with heavy lidded eyes reflects his recent encounter with African, Roman, and Iberian sculpture and foreshadows his adoption of Cubism. He painted the head, which differs in style from the body and hands, without the sitter, testimony to the fact that it was his personal vision, rather than empirical reality, that guided him in his work. When someone commented that Stein did not look like her portrait, Picasso replied, She will. The painting was done on a canvas and he used oil to paint her.
The height of the painting is 393/8, the width is 32 inches (100 x 81.3 cm) (Rodenbeck, Joseph, Eakin) there are some speculations that state that Gertrude in her later years resembled the portrait. Stein herself liked the portrait. She stated “I was and I still am satisfied with my portrait”. She wrote in 1938 “for me it is I, and it is the only reproduction of me”. (Rodenbeck) Gertrude purchased her first Picasso painting in 1911 or 1912 and she stopped buying his paintings in 1914. No one has a clue as to why she stopped. That is a mystery that has remained unsolved. (Rodenbeck, Hall) This painting was done in really dark colors.
What caught my attention was her almost cartoon like face. Because of the dark background and the dark clothing she is wearing, it makes her face stand out more. Gertrude is sitting in an upright position and she looks very rigid. Gertrude has her black hair tied up from her face. Gertrude eyes stick out the most.
They are darkened and they appear to be black as well, witch makes her eyes stand out. This makes her eyes appear sunken in, or as if she had lack of rest. Her nose is rather elongated which adds more to the way her eyes look. The dark lines around the eyes, mouth and nose shows off the light and dark areas and enhances her facial features as well. There is a small line on the upper right hand side of the right nostril that almost looks as if it were a scar but in all actuality it is just part of the line that he uses to enhance the nose area.
Gertrude has no expression on her face. She looks plain and serious. Picasso shaded the right side of her neck witch shows the contrast between light and dark. Witch indicates that she is facing the light or at least that is the way he drew it. The light seams to be in the center so it shines in front of her and not on the side. Because most of the light is on the upper part of her body her hands do not look as light as her face. Her left hand is on her lap, her right hand is also on the armrest but her entire arm is on it.
Gertrude is wearing a dark brown jacket witch makes her complexion look even lighter. The only piece of clothing that is light on Gertrude is her scarf. Even Gertrude shirt is brown it resembles the color of the wall except her shirt is more of a golden brown instead of a walls that are more like a background dull brown. The background is dull brown and it is rough not smooth. The thin lines make it appear rough and almost like bricks or another type of material that is not as smooth. Above Gertrude head the background is lighter. That area is light a grayish and, you can see part of her shadow.
Furthermore I believe that the painting is very unique especially since it was of a true person except the head witch I find kind of strange. Why did he not complete Gertrude’s head when he had the chance? Why did he not complete her right then and there, even more fascinating is how is it that Gertrude ended up resembling the painting years later. I dare to suggest that the relationship between Picasso and Gertrude could have been a mother son relationship or just close friends. What originally drew me to this painting was that I had thought that it was a family remember like his grandmother or maybe even his mother. It had that personal touch and it reminded me of my grandmother.
I thought it was different from some of the paintings that I have seen. This painting is fairly simple but it has a lot of meaning behind it that we will never know. I think another thing that attracted me to this painting was it simplicity. There was nothing to distract you from the main object witch was Gertrude. The reason I say this is because sometimes artists have a lot of things on in their paintings and more then one object and sometimes it can be rather distracting.
Picasso has done so many paintings some of them include the Tragedy 1903, Girl Reading at the Table 1834, Crucifixion 1934, Dorra Maar 1937 and so many others. Picasso had a very unique sense of style. His willingness and open exploration to try new and different things made him a great artist in his time. He had many talents, he not only painted but, he was a sculptor, he did drawings, he worked with ceramics and he was also a poet which no one really new about. This is only a small glimpse at this artist diverse life and career as an artist.
Picasso has contributed a lot to modern art. He has done so much and we have the privilege of being able to see his work displayed in museums. Word Count 1691 Arts Essays.