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Picasso’s Year of Wonders

Inspired by a passionate a air with a younger mistress, 1932 would become Picasso’s annus mirabilis. Jonny Wilkes explores the desire and heartache behind his prolific year
ARTIST AND HIS MUSE Pablo Picasso with one of his 1932 paintings of Marie-Thérèse Walter, the muchyounger woman with whom he had been having an a air since 1927. Suggestively, his portrait of his wife, Olga, is seen leaning against the wall
© The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

When Pablo Picasso turned 50 on 25 October 1931, his reputation as an artist of global influence had already been established for decades. His Blue Period had come as a young man barely out of his teens, and he quickly followed it with his Rose Period and the creation of Cubism. The Spaniard, unlike other greats such as Van Gogh, was no penniless painter unappreciated in his own lifetime; the artistic community lionised him, and high-price sales of his pieces brought him fabulous wealth and fame.

His fifties were not going to slow him down. In fact, 1932 proved to be a remarkably fertile year for Picasso, during which he dashed out some of his most iconic canvases in a matter of days. At the same time, his professional and private lives were being torn in different directions by contrasting circumstances and ideals. But rather than divide him, they seemed to create a precarious harmony – for those 12 months, at least – inspiring what would become known as his ‘year of wonders’.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of BBC History Revealed Magazine - March 2018
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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

In this month’s issue… Who killed JFK? We know Lee Harvey Oswald pulled a trigger, but was he a lone gunman or part of a larger conspiracy? Plus: Elizabeth’s I love rival; the Irish Potato Famine; Picasso’s most prolific year; the medieval knight who’s travels made him more famous than Marco Polo; the Top 10 art controversies and the legend of the Bermuda Triangle.