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Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973)
Exceptionally prolific throughout the course of his long life, Picasso achieved universal renown and immense fortune for his revolutionary artistic accomplishments; known for co-founding the Cubist movement, inventing constructed sculpture and co-inventing collage. Picasso's work is often categorized into periods, most commonly accepted as the Blue Period (1901–1904), the Rose Period (1904-1906), the African Period (1907-1909), Analytical Cubism (1909-12) and Synthetic Cubism (1912-19). Some of his work dating from the 1910s and much dating from the early 1920s were executed in a Neoclassical style. Picasso’s work from the mid-1920s often possesses the characteristics of Surrealism, whilst his later work combines elements of his earlier styles. Among his most famous and iconic works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) inspired by Iberian and African sculpture; and Guernica (1937) a haunting poem on the Fascist bombing of a Basque town during the Spanish Civil War.
At the time of Picasso's death many of his paintings were in his possession. In addition, Picasso had a considerable collection of the work of other famous artists, some his contemporaries, such as Henri Matisse with whom he has exchanged works. Since Picasso left no will, his death duties (estate tax) to the French state were paid in the form of his works and others from his collection. It is these works that form the core of the immense and representative collection of the Musée Picasso in Paris. As of 2004, Picasso remained the top-ranked artist (based on sales of his works at auctions) and on 21 June 2016 a painting by Pablo Picasso titled Femme Assise (1909) sold for £43.2 million ($63.4 million) at Sotheby's in London, setting a world record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a Cubist work.