March 22, 2010 by Nancy Noonan
Picasso TheAbsintheDrinker untitled

Picasso's "The Absinthe Drinker" 1903

As you or your organization go through your different STAGES, stop and acknowledge the different successes that you accomplish along the way. Don’t just wait for the big end result—you could miss out on some amazing “smaller” masterpieces along the way.

So often when we look at a successful person or a successful organization we tend to think of his/her success in terms of “Ah, she has finally arrived. She is NOW successful.” What we often overlook is that that person’s “ultimate” success probably came in STAGES of success. The famous 20th century artist, Pablo Picasso, is a good example. “Ultimately,” Picasso is most known for his pinnacle style, Cubism.

In Cubism, Picasso viewed the form, e.g., a human being, in terms of geometric shapes which he then rearranged, camouflaging the forms in the geometry. However, Picasso went through several STAGES in his artistic evolvement before arriving at Cubism. For example, from 1901 to 1904, Picasso’s style manifested a strong sense of melancholy and poetic nuances in what has been called “The Blue Period.” The Blue Period also marked the transition in his style from classicism, in which he was strongly trained and accomplished, to the abstract style of his later cubism.

One of his works from that time was a 1903 painting, best  known as “The Absinthe Drinker,” although formally named “Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto.” Christie’s auction house has just announced that it will sell this painting at an auction in London on June 23rd, expecting to garner between $45 million and $65 million. Not a bad chunk of change for a painting that was done in one of an artist’s evolving stages!

The painting is being sold by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s charitable foundation with proceeds going to its works promoting the arts. Perfect synchronicity in that the date of this posting is also Webber’s birthday. (Love when that happens!)

To learn more about how the artists’ strategies can benefit you or your organization, check out my “The Art of Mastery” program at


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