The Picasso industry. From 1895 to 1944 alone there were a total of 6,751 works of which half were drawings.By the early 1960′s when he was still churning out pieces, there was an additional three to four thousand plus over a thousand pieces he had squirreled away in his chateaus. If every Picasso in existence was sold at market value there would be about 4 trillion in value. …
What made Picasso unique in the history of art is the degree to which he had become what could be described as the orchestrator of the public attitude toward his work, expertly creating sympathetic responses to his various successive styles. These changes of style, as all followers of his art know, are so distinct that each has been endowed with a name of its own: blue period, circus period, rose period, negroid period, analytic cubist period and so on.
There have been a few isolated instances of an artist effectively promoting his art to patrons such as Titian’s sales relationship with King Philip II of Spain getting him to accept allegories violently modern to him, even nudes, which however classical were totally unlike anything medieval Spain had ever seen. Yet in Picasso, it demanded a man who was as great an impressario as an artist to make his own protean changes in style understood and accepted. It would have been far easier for him to continue, once having found a style, to have just continued expanding its possibilities without making abrupt and radical changes. The only reason for the shifts had to have been his own restless exploratory nature, though there had to have been other motives present than attraction to a new stylistic dialect.
Before social media, Picasso had always been in dialogue with his audience, ever needing the audience, sensing it and feeling it out like a lover pursuing the object of his affections. He was like a metteur en scene, a scenic designer, who phrases his plays in a new language yet always captures the heretofore hidden forms which lie in the dream world of his public and materializes them for that public. In his century, the twentieth, he saturated his public with a new and continually changing series of visual experiences, in which as scenic master, he helped both create and reflect the visual restlessness of his public.
His sometime Paris dealer, Paul Rosenberg once remarked that Picasso had the good sense, of all artists, to die at least eight times; which is to say that each of his periods is as closed as a book, in terms of supply and demand, as if it represented the lifetime output of a single artist. Despite his enormous output, each of his phases remained a limited edition. There is an absoluteness to which each period ended.
The phenomenal results of Picasso’s approach, a new model every few years, and a refusal or inability to reproduce last year’s stood in marked contrast to a Matisse who followed a more or less continuous course. The critics were always one lap behind Picasso which made his speedy acceptance by a public willing to pay to prove it even more remarkable. Picasso did not merely educate, but virtually immersed his public in his own forms as had no other artist in history: never before had newly invented visual forms passed so rapidly from the studio into popular art.