Raised in Spain by middle-class parents, Picasso moved to Paris in the early 1900s, where he fell in with a group of fellow artists and writers, including Henri Matisse. Picasso and his contemporaries struggled in the early years of the 20th century, but were supported in their work by a handful of wealthy and influential art collectors, including Leo and Gertrude Stein, Claribel Cone and Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler.
During this time, Picasso moved through two of his most influential and prolific artistic periods, including ‘Blue’ and ‘Rose’. Reflecting both his low life-standing and burgeoning modernist style, Picasso’s work from these periods was characterised by its sombre themes and monotonal use of colour – characteristics inspired by his experiences as a starving artist.
In the decades that followed, Picasso’s work changed beyond recognition, and with it his reputation as one of the world’s foremost artists. During his lifetime, Picasso attained what few other artists could: a sprawling, global fanbase. Since his death in 1973, his works have continued to inspire artists, writers and creative minds, confirming Picasso as the seminal artist of the past century.