Last week I went to the Picasso and Modern British Art exhibition at Tate Britain which is on until 15 July so still plenty of time to see it. It reflects two aspects of Picasso: first his works that were shown and collected in Britain and secondly his influence on modern British Artists such as Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon and David Hockney (to name a few).
I didn’t have much ‘experience’ of Picasso so my first impression was “oh he didn’t just paint confusing cuby things”. I was really amazed by the versatility of his art. Really I think anyone could find something which they find either aesthetically or intellectually interesting. What I found really brilliant about the curation of the exhibit was finding out the story of Picasso through his art and connections.
Perhaps my favourite room showed his costume and set design for the The Three-Cornered Hat which premiered in London in 1919. Picasso’s had met his wife, Olga Kohklova, while working with the company before. Aside from the detailed drawings he made for the set while based in London he also made drawings of the company members. One of which was the wife of a famous economist, John Maynard Keynes. As a student of environment and development studies this tickled me a bit. Mr Keynes then became a fan and bought several pieces of Picasso’s throughout his life.
It would seem to me that his most popular subject was women and he represented them in a variety of ways. His mistress Marie-Therese Walter was often represented as a guitar or mandolin although she was often represented simply lying around naked. I did like that he also often painted faces from both the front and in profile.
I thought this picture of “Nude Woman Lying in the Sun” (1932) was also Marie-Therese but I can’t find any confirmation of that on the web. It would make sense to me as it was painted in the same year as the above picture and they are both blonde – is that too much of a leap?
Marie-Therese is also potentially represented in this later drawing which was made after she announced a pregnancy to Picasso. I really liked his detailed etchings like this as they seem to have so much texture.
Off all the artists that he influenced, I think one of my favourite nods was to his cubist guitars by David Hockney done through polaroids.
Every time I go to an exhibition (especially such a well curated one) the idea that art is accessible to everyone is really reinforced. I think the stories of artists make their lives more interesting and easy to understand their art. The Tate Britain exhibitions are always rather extensive and take a time to wander around but I really think it is worth it.
In my search for pictures I have also come across blogs by Chloe Nelkin and Salve Magistra if you would like to read a bit more about the exhibit if you aren’t based in London or just want to find out more.
Sources: click picture to be taken to source