Picasso's early career was far more than a prologue to the phenomenal artistic achievement that followed. In the years from 1892 to 1906 the artist produced complex and compelling works that relate in fascinating ways to his later oeuvre and development. This magnificent book focuses on that early work: paintings that reflect Picasso's close allegiance with the Catalan modernista movement in turn-of-the-century Barcelona; art of the Blue period, named for the monochromatic palette the artist used to represent figures drawn from the socio-economic underclass in Barcelona and Paris; works of the Rose period, dominated by the motif of the saltimbanque, an itinerant fairground performer whom Picasso observed firsthand in Paris; and the imposing series of drawings and paintings from 1906 devoted to the male and female nude.
Scholars such as Robert Lubar, Peter Read, Robert Rosenblum, Natasha Staller, Jeffrey Weiss, and Margaret Werth discuss these early works from varied points of view, placing them in the context of Picasso's life and the cultural and political currents of his times. They consider, for example, the significance of Picasso's earliest training, the importance of drawing as a primary creative force that underlies his work in different media, his relationships with poets and theater people, and his identification with the avant-garde, along with related notions of the artist as outsider, bohemian, and provocateur. A technical essay by Ann Hoenigswald presents the latest scientific research into Picasso's working methods, and there is an extensive chronology with quotes and contemporary reviews about people and events that appear in Picasso's art and are discussed in theessays. Filled with unfamiliar and well-known works, this beautiful book sheds new light on a modern master.