“Blue Nude” Pablo Picasso 1902

It is the first art print I ever purchased. You can’t really count the psychedelic black light posters that decorated my dorm room.

This one graced the walls of our newlywed apartment. The bedding was blue, so it made sense aesthetically. But it was much more than that.

It came from the mind of a depressed Pablo Picasso during his “blue period” 1901-1904; so-called for both his choice of color, and his state of depression after the suicide of a close friend in the art world.

He was born in 1881, his first major depression came in his early 20’s, much like mine.


Van Gogh. “Starry Night”

Finding solace in his art, he had an almost manic flurry of creative energy, producing some of his most famous and highly regarded works at this stressful time.

While not a painter, I had just lived through a very productive hypomania episode; one that I failed to identify until decades later.


Munch “The Scream”

Throughout the years, and without knowing, I acquired a collection of work from other artists who suffered in their mental health. Vincent Van Gogh was an early favorite; Andrew Wyeth, Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keeffe, French painters Degas and Gauguin, and Edvard Munch, with the unforgettable “Scream”.

It took years to recognize my own issues with depression. My choice of art was a precursor. I was always drawn to artists who had endured the struggle.

Through changes in interior decorating, Picasso’s blue lady remains. It only seems right.



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6 Responses to Blue

  1. Not that I’m for suffering, but sometimes the internal witness emerges and the resulting art captures something universal that we all can relate to. Thanks for the lovely post.

  2. Thanks so much for your comment. I agree. It accounts for timeless treasures in art, music,literature. It is the “stuff” of our shared humanity.

  3. Angie Mc says:

    Fascinating retrospect. My art choices have changed over the years, more pink, but Picasso’s blue period will always hold a special place in my heart.

    • Had a love/hate thing about pink all my life. It softened when my daughter was born…then it showed up more as a blend of blue/pink in shades of lilac. (i.e. Georgia O’Keeffe). First pink garment came then, as well. So many complex thoughts …so little time. Thanks, Angie

  4. LaVagabonde says:

    I love Picasso’s blue period,too. I like Van Gogh’s and Munch’s works, but they also make me a little nauseous.

    • To be honest, I don’t have a copy of The Scream; not sure I wanted to explain that one to my kids. As it is, they always thought “Blue” was not a lady in fetal position, but a very large nose. (Now, you have to look at it again). A child’s perspective….gotta love it. ☺ Thanks for the comment, Julie

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