Now on at the renowned Tate Britain art museum in Central London is the first ever exhibition to explore Pablo Picasso’s lifelong connections with Britain.
Picasso & Modern British Art examines the reputation of this famed Spanish artist as well as the influence held in Britain. It also shows how British artists responded to Picasso’s work through during the 20th century.
The exhibition takes a look at Picasso’s rise in Britain as a figure of both controversy and celebrity, tracing the ways in which his work was exhibited and collected during his lifetime.
Many of the most significant developments of Twentieth Century art were originated by Picasso.
Tate Britain’s exhibition examines the enormous impact his prolific creativity had on modern art in Britain. Throughout the show, Picasso-inspired artwork by seven key British artists – Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Graham Sutherland and David Hockney – are presented chronologically alongside major works by Picasso, such as his Cubist paintings Head of a Man, Man with a Clarinet, and Still Life with Mandolin.
The select few British artists represented in this exhibition were chosen to illustrate the variety and vitality of their responses over a period of more than seventy years and offers a rare opportunity to see such work alongside those by Picasso. For example, David Hockney is said to have visited Picasso’s 1960 London exhibition a total of eight times, thus starting his life-long obsession with Picasso. A selection of various Hockney homages to Picasso are on show. Additionally, Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion 1944 (Tate) is compared with Picasso’s paintings based on figures on the beach at Dinard which first inspired Bacon to take up painting seriously.
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The exhibition also looks at the time Picasso spent in London in 1919 when he worked on the scenery and costumes for Diaghilev’s production of The Three-Cornered Hat. It assesses the significance of his political status in Britain through politically charged works such as Guernica and considers his post-war reputation and how he was often the catalyst of fierce debate.
Picasso & Modern British Art at Tate Britain is open to the public now and runs until Sunday July 15, 2012 at Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG. For more information and opening hours or to purchase tickets visit www.tate.org.uk/britain.
CC Flickr photo credit: Ewan Munro