It is 1925 in Paris, and writer, Gertrude Stein is reminiscing at an exhibition featuring Pablo Picasso's famous art work, 'Les Demoiselles d' Avignon'. She is talking to Count Marbur, explaining the painting to him. The story then moves to Malaga, Spain 1918, where she continues to reveal Pablo's fascinating history.
In Malaga, after an illness and death of his little 7 year old sister Maria, distraught young Picasso absorbs himself into painting, so much so that when he enters the Academy of Art in Barcelona at 16, where his father teaches. He surpasses all of them, at which point his father Jose Ruiz y Picasso turns over his brushes and palette as a symbol of his ascendance.
At 19 years old Pablo Picasso takes a train from Barcelona to Paris with his closest friend, Carlos Casagemas, a volatile Spaniard who is also a fellow painter. They are greeted by Carlos' Uncle Don Luis Costa who helps them settle into modest lodgings within the lively Latin Quarter district near the Seine.
While in Paris, he and Carlos meet a colourful cast of characters including notable writers and poets, Apollinaire, Jaime Sabartes, and Max Jacob, a journalist and outspoken political activist, who teaches him the ropes and ways to survive as a young budding artist in the 'City of Light', where competition is fierce from the likes of Henri Matisse, Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Manet, and many of the other Impressionists, who fiercely defending their newly established style.
While Pablo and his friend Carlos are in Paris, they meet many lovely women and go to wild artist parties where Carlo meets and falls in love with a girl named Anna. But little to his knowledge, 'Anna' has her eyes on Pablo, smelling his eventual success after a show at the famous Vollard's Gallery. Her lying and deception continues until Carlos can take it no more and shoots himself in the middle of a busy bar in Montmarte, and Pablo is heartbroken. This is where he makes his first Blue Period painting of Carlos in his casket.
During this time Pablo also meets a woman named, 'Fernande Oliver', the first love in his life and they move in together at an apartment building notably called, the 'BATEAU LAVOIR', made famous where he created most of his 'Blue Period' and 'Rose Period' works.
He finally meets art patrons, Gertrude and Leo Stein at a party through Apollinaire and Pablo and she become friends. She introduces Pablo to an influential art critic named, Felix Baton, who is a flamboyant homosexual and immediately fixates on Pablo and wants to control his life, but Pablo won't comply and ends up offending him, creating a powerful adversary that causes him harm from this point on.
On one visit to an art exhibition at 'The Salon Independents', young Picasso is introduced by Apollinaire to Matisse who shows Pablo some African totem sculpture. Pablo becomes infatuated with the totems and begins sketching them, and once he is home he starts making a commissioned portrait of Gertrude Stein in the totem stylized motif.
Fernande and Pablo continue living happily at Bateau Lavoir for a time despite his manager, Ambroise Vollard's dwindling art sales. His paintings are not selling well due to the lack of public understanding of his work and Felix Baton's negative reviews. Eventually they are broke, and Fernande ends up prostituting herself on the streets of Paris in order to bring in enough money for them to eat and live.
They are finally evicted from Bateau Lavoir for failing to pay their rent and are forced to leave Paris for cheaper lodging in the mountains of Gosol, Spain.
While in Gosol, Pablo paints feverishly to the point of deteriorating health, in search of a new style to pull them out of their gloomy situation. With lack of canvas available, Pablo paints over many of his great masterpieces much to the dismay of Fernande who thinks he lost his mind. Until one day when they are arguing a mirror is broken and he see the shards of glass on the floor in hundreds of wedges looking back at him. He has discovered something; a way to see almost all around a subject on canvas that becomes the birth of 'Cubism'…..
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