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Pablo Picasso, The Kiss, 1969, oil on canvas, Private Collection, New York. © 2013 Estate of PabloPicasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Claiming that color weakens, Pablo Picasso purged it from his work in order to highlight the formal structure and autonomy of form inherent in his art. His repeated minimal palette correlates to his obsessive interest in line and form, drawing, and monochromatic and tonal values, while developing a complex language of pictorial and sculptural signs. The recurrent motif of black, white, and gray is evident in his Blue and Rose periods, pioneering investigations into Cubism, neoclassical figurative paintings, and retorts to Surrealism. Even in his later works that depict the atrocities of war, allegorical still lifes, vivid interpretations of art-historical masterpieces, and his sensual canvases created during his twilight years, he continued to apply a reduction of color.

—Carmen Giménez, Stephen and Nan Swid Curator of Twentieth-Century Art, with the assistance of Karole Vail, Associate Curator