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Sable mouvant (Quicksand) was Pierre Reverdy’s last poem. René Char had asked him to write the verses for a collection of works by twelve poets to be illustrated by Jacques Villon, but the projected volume never appeared. Reverdy died on June 17, 1960, at Solesmes, the famous abbey to which he had retired in 1926. His death went almost unnoticed; in fact, only three friends – Braque, Picasso, and Tériade – had been informed of it. As a tribute to the incorruptible friend who had so clearly seen the pitfalls of Picasso’s genius, and the price he would pay for his fame Picasso agreed to illustrate a posthumous edition of Sable mouvant.
Pablo Picasso remains renowned for endlessly reinventing himself, switching between styles so radically different that his life's work seems to be the product of multiple great artists rather than just one.
Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born on October 26, 1881, in Malaga, Spain. His father was a professor in the School of Arts and Crafts and often took him to bullfights which would influence much of his art throughout his career. It is said that Picasso learned to draw before he could speak. Picasso studied the works and styles of many Spanish artists including Francisco Goya, El Greco, and Diego Velázquez. At the beginning of the 1900s, Picasso moved to Paris, France to open his own studio. He was lonely and depressed after the death of a close friend, which ignited what is now known as his “Blue Period”. A few years later, Picasso started the “Rose Period”, which introduced warmer colors to his works. Picasso is commonly known as the pioneer of Cubism, in which objects are broken apart and reassembled in an abstracted form; it is destructive and creative. Cubism shocked, appalled and fascinated the art world.