8 Superb Quotes by Pablo Picasso to Celebrate His 135th Birthday

The legendary artist was famous for his witty quips.

Pablo Picasso. Courtesy of Ralph Gatti/AFP/Getty Images.

Pablo Picasso was born on this day in 1881. During his lifetime the painter, sculptor, and ceramicist rose to stardom with a radical, constantly evolving style that was at all times creative, inventive, and ahead of his peers. A true visionary, the artist was at the forefront of cultural development throughout his entire life, from his early work through his blue period, rose period, cubism, and late work.

Seminal works such as Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1905) have dictated the direction of modernist art and irrevocably influenced art history.

Since his death in 1973, Picasso has arguably risen to become the most influential artist in modern history, and is perhaps the best ever known artist. His artistic legacy endures so much that he remains possibly the most bankable artist on the market, with pictures that regularly set record prices at international evening auctions; most notably, Les Femmes d’Alger Version O (1955), which achieved a record sum of $179.4 million at Christie’s New York in November 2015.

In honor of Picasso’s birth 135 years ago, here are a selection of the legendary artist’s most memorable quotes.

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles D'Avignon (1907). Photo: Wikipedia.

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles D’Avignon (1907). Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

1. On his inimitable painting style.

“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”

2. On being a great artist.

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

3. On looking at art.

“Do you ever know what the birds are singing? You don’t. But you listen to them anyway. So, sometimes with art, it is important just to look.”

4. On the market.

“The people who make art their business are mostly imposters.”

5. On making confusing paintings.

“The world today doesn’t make sense, so why should I pant pictures that do.”

6. On success. 

“Success is dangerous. One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others. It leads to sterility.”

7. On doing what you love.

“Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time.”

8. On reality.

“Everything you can imagine is real.”

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