By universal consent, Picasso is the master of the modern school of Paris, the
leader of a group of international artists whose pictures transcend the con
fines of time and place, and in many instances, ignore the outward behavior of
He has consistently refused to traffic in the accepted emotional struggles
of men and women-his major interest is in the formation of pictures. Like
the old scholastic philosophers, he has exercised his nimble intelligence on
the subtleties of methods and procedures, and thus has rightly become the
ruler of those who believe that painting, in its purest manifestations, is a
language of abstractions.
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During his first years in Paris, Picasso was dominated by Toulouse-Lautrec,
but the abstract ideal was already upon him; and though he painted recog
niza,ble harlequins and beggars, his subjects were deliberately withdrawn
from their environment.
From the outset, he has adhered to the inflexible tenet
that art is essentially a composition, a material unit; that its value is gauged
by the skill, the orderliness, and the originality of the structural framework.
This principle affords complete freedom for his unique gifts, and absolves
him from all commerce with the world of affairs.
It was cubism that made Picasso famous. Absorbed, not in what is put
together, but in how things are related, he divested objects of their repre
sentational features, and reduced them to abstractions-to assemblages of
geometrical planes and angles.
Some years ago he lent his prestige to the
surrealists, a school of artists who distorted nature to symbolize the workings
of the subconscious mind, but he never subscribed wholeheartedly to their
creed. He merely introduced silhouetted faces and hints of torsos into his
patterns. His Young Girl at the Mirror is of this period.
It is a fantastic pattern
of abnormally high visibility. It is not too much to say that no other artist
has so strikingly impressed on areas of color and particles of matter the
individuality of genius.
Picasso has experimented with all the historical
ways of handling space; he is a master of every technical instrument known
to painting. His great technical powers, his unrivaled inventiveness, and his
exhaustive researches leading to the most puzzling combinations in painting
have stimulated artists in all parts of the world to the study of form and
He has been named the liberator, the man who delivered art from
the bondage of academic practice and restored the principles of design.