How Picasso’s Journey From Prodigy to Icon Revealed a Genius

Intense, provocative, disturbing, and captivating, the legendary artist led a life of restless brilliance.

It's the morning before Christie’s Impressionist and modern art evening sale in New York City, and suddenly, there it is.

Just past the auction house’s entrance at Rockefeller Center, Pablo Picasso’s vibrant geometric portrait “Femme Accroupie (Jacqueline)” jaunts down a hallway, carried by two art handlers dressed in black.

Painted in the south of France in October 1954, the canvas features Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s 27-year-old mistress, later to be his wife, her arms clasped around a patchwork skirt of green and purple triangles. The artist, then 72, painted “Femme Accroupie” in a single day, and it gushes with vigorous brushstrokes, thick pigment, rambunctious shapes, misaligned eyes, and an inverted nose. Golden light rings Jacqueline’s body. Even off the wall, the painting commands attention.

Read This Next

Black homeownership thrives in this NYC neighborhood
COVID-19 is now the deadliest pandemic in U.S. history
Influx of Haitian migrants overwhelms Texas border authorities

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet