Pablo Ruiz Picasso, more famously known simply as Picasso, is famous for being one of the founders of cubism, and inspiring a return to classicism later in his life. However, a large body of his work has been overshadowed by iconic works such as Guernica and his association with cubism.
Picasso’s Blue Period, while less famous than his cubism, is also well-known, the subject of many a trivia question, and the inspiration for critics to divide other artist’s work into periods of significance.
What is substantially less famous, however, is Picasso’s Rose Period, which immediately followed his Blue Period. While the Blue Period focused on pictures of the downtrodden and the lower classes, with not only blue colors, but a blue attitude as well. With the Rose Period, Picasso changed his work completely. The only commonality between the two periods, other than Picasso’s unique genius, is a use of harlequins and other circus imagery that would continue throughout his career.
Where his work had once been sad and depressing, Picasso’s paintings were now exciting and joyful, with colors like orange and pink substituting for the somber blues of his earlier period. While the Blue Period lasted from 1901 to 1904, the Rose Period lasted from 1905 to 1907. It has been suggested that the paintings reflected Picasso’s newfound happiness based on his relationship with Fernande Olivier, whom he met in 1904.
While Picasso was born in Spain, he spent most of his working career in Paris, including both the Blue and the Rose Periods. While the Blue Period is considered influenced by his Spanish roots, the Rose Period is considered the first of Picasso’s French-influenced periods of work. It is worth noting that Picasso had moved beyond what was considered his ‘Early Work’ and had already gone through two completely different Periods by 1907, when he was only 26.
While the Rose Period is not as famous as Picasso’s Blue Period, it is remarkable that the Picasso painting that has sold for the most money at auction was produced during the Rose Period. Garçon à la pipe (Boy with a Pipe) painted in 1905, went under the hammer at Sotheby’s in New York City on May 5, 2004. At the end of the the bidding, the painting sold for $104.1 million, although critics have said that the price may have had more to do with the artist’s name rather than the merits of the particular painting.