Friday, 3 February 2017

Did Picasso Invent The Blues?

Carlos Casagemas, Picasso's friend who was impotent, killed himself on February 17th 1901.
The approximate year of the birth, in a shack, in New Orleans of Louis Armstrong.
Devastated by his death, Picasso painted several portraits of him while he lay dead on his bed, the life draining out of him.
 Pain found the brushstrokes.
He had turned blue, the cold setting in, showing the fragility of existence.
Picasso entered this blue period, literally making precedence to the term, the blues.
He had left Barcelona and Gaudi behind, to go to Paris.


Decades later after this blue painting period of Picasso, Josephine Baker and Sydney Bechet brought the afro-american music called Jazz with them. Was it called the blues then?
Where did the term, the blues first enter the modern vocabulary, and why?
Did Picasso discover that blue for cold. Was blue for death.
The ancient Greeks in mythology related blue to rain and the tears of the God Zeus, who would make rain when he was sad and he cried.
James Audubon the the 19th century author in 1827 wrote in his journal, that he “had the blues.”
Did Picasso know this and relate the colour to the cold flesh he saw, or was he relating it to a term to describe how he felt. Speculation has gone before me.
He was in a state of self deprivation, he had the blues.
Two years later he would cap it off and start again, with a painting called life.
His mourning was over. He no longer had the blues. His blue period was finished.
At 22 he moved into the 'laundry boat' named by his poet friend Max Jacob Le Bateau Lavior.
This was the time of Madeleine and the Medrano circus.
He met acrobats and he painted himself as Harlequin and by doing so, announcing he had finished mourning.
Fernande Olivier was his next love who walked in during a thunderstorm.
He then began to paint, in competition with Matisse, as if he was primitive or copying primitive form. African masks and shapes from that great continent.
Learning his way as he went.
Did his search for feeling find him when he got the blues over the death of his best friend?
Edmund Portier had brought back photos of Africa to Paris.
Photography was tried and this led him into a different perspective.
He said “What was the point in painting now”. So he worked harder.
His photographs were cut and distorted in geometrical forms. The deconstruction.
Breaking up heads with sculpture he would feel his different experiences. Was it that simple?
Musical scales had been broken up and re-invented in New Orleans (named after the French city of Orlean) by the mixed race Creole. The Blues were born out of a re-invention of musical scales and the invention of The Blues Scale with its flattened third and its semi-tones.
So art would be remade and remodelled in Paris.

Then there was Eva.
Ma Jolie and the cubist musical instruments.
Braque enters the frame.
Picasso kept the portrait of Eva he did until his death. She died of Tuberculosis.
Jean Cocteau he met. In the village that was Montmartre.
Diaghilev and the Ballet Russe and Eric Satie and Olga, he followed on a tour.
He designed the curtain to, that, opera that did not go down too well.
Apollinaire said the new spirit was surrealism, a new spirit.

They would be inseparable. Olga Khokhlova.
Spanish flu took Apollonaire. Rozenburg financed his new glamorous life.
Ivor Stravinsky. High Society.
Bodies get bigger and giants appear in his work at this point, he is a father.
His work is his biography.
The roaring twenties. Dance Macabre is a change. Love is fatale his fears show anguish.
Paul Colin paints Jesephine Baker dancing in Le Revue Negre.
Marie-Therese Walter was 17. He disguises her even though she is seventeen.
He is 47 and takes photos and makes a flip book of images of her.
Obsessive repetition and the Minotaur.
The monster leaves Olga his wife, for Marie Therese.
Olga remained Madame Picasso because as a Spaniard he could not divorce.
A golden cage for Olga to live, and he wrote poetry to her.
Dora Maar spoke Spanish. Surrealism and Man Ray.
Hitler and Mussolini. Come into his life and play a part.
Andre Breton published his poems. Popular Front victory is Spain and Franco's civil war.
Spanish Pavilion asked for a painting. 27th April 1937.
Guernica.
It went on tour to Manchester as a fundraiser.
Fran├žoise Gilot.
1947 and a new child. He lived in La Galliose.
Madoura ceramic workshops. He had moved south and worked there.
The dove of Peace. Dove, or Paloma in Spanish, was born.
Bullfights at Arles and Nimes.
1951 another girlfriend sees a break up with Franciose.
Jacqueline Roque 1954.
Olga died and Jacqueline became Madame Picasso.                           Marie Therese
Creation day, after day, after day. Canvases piled up.
He died in his bed drawing.
Marie Therese ended her life. Wouldn't you if you had this portrait painted of you?
Jacqueline in 1986 spilled a revolver in her head on the date of his inaugural exhibition. (in Madrid).
She definatly had the blues. Picasso seemed to give his lovers depression. Was he blue.
Quite a lot of Picasso's work depresses me.
His pottery at Madoura is all but a joke in my opinion.
If it was not by he, some of it would be laughable.

So where did the term the blues come from?
There are references that could be linked to feeling blue. A coldness of spirit.
Picasso maybe picked up on these blue thoughts.
Maybe it goes back a bit further than the great man to an age gone by.
There was a tradition amongst deep water sailing ships in America.
That when they had lost their Captain or officers, during the voyage to return to port, they would fly blue flags and also they would paint a blue band along the entire hull as it came into port.
Thus signifying that all was not right.
The blue paint was a warning to those ashore to expect the worst, prepare for some bad news.
Coleridge wrote and felt it in, The Ancient Mariner picking up the spirit of the sea, as he infused his blood with opium.
Death of a sailor could mean poverty for his wife and family.
But for Picasso it gave him inspiration to paint.
Feeling blue made you famous.
Just how blue can you be.