Art News

Tate Britain Showcases "Picasso and Modern British Art"

artwork: Pablo Picasso - "Still Life with Guitar, Juan-les-Pins", 1924 - Oil on canvas - 97.5 x 130 cm - Collection of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. © Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2008. On view at the Tate Britain, London in "Picasso and Modern British Art" from February 15th until July 15th 2012.

London. Tate Britain is proud to announce “Picasso and Modern British Art”, on view at the museum from February 15th through July 15th 2012. This will be the first exhibition to explore Pablo Picasso’s lifelong connections with Britain. “Picasso and Modern British Art” will examine Picasso’s evolving critical reputation here and British artists’ responses to his work. The exhibition will explore Picasso’s rise in Britain as a figure of both controversy and celebrity, tracing the ways in which his work was exhibited and collected here during his lifetime, and demonstrating that the British engagement with Picasso and his art was much deeper and more varied than generally has been appreciated. After Tate Britain, the exhibition will tour to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.

Pablo Picasso originated many of the most significant developments of twentieth-century art. This exhibition will examine his enormous impact on British modernism, through seven exemplary figures for whom he proved an important stimulus: Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Graham Sutherland and David Hockney. It will be presented in an essentially chronological order, with rooms documenting the exhibiting and collecting of Picasso’s art in Britain alternating with those showcasing individual British artists’ responses to his work. “Picasso and Modern British Art” will comprise over 150 works from major public and private collections around the world, including over 60 paintings by Picasso. Picasso and Modern British Art will include key Cubist works such as “Head of a Man with Moustache” 1912 (Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris) which was seen in Britain before the First World War, when Cubism was first introduced to a British public through Roger Fry’s two Post-Impressionist exhibitions. It will also include Picasso’s “Man with a Clarinet” 1911-12 (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid) and “Weeping Woman” 1937 (Tate), works which were acquired by the two most notable British collectors of Picasso, Douglas Cooper and Roland Penrose, both of whom were to become intimately associated with the artist and his reputation.

artwork: Pablo Picasso - "The Three Dancers", 1925 - Oil on canvas - 215.3 x 223.2 cm. - Collection of Tate Britain. © Succession Picasso/DACS 2011. -  On view in "Picasso and Modern British Art" until July 15th.

While many British artists have responded to Picasso’s influence, those represented in this exhibition have been selected to illustrate both the variety and vitality of these responses over a period of more than seventy years. This is a rare opportunity to see such work alongside those works by Picasso that, in many cases, are documented as having made a particular impact on the artist concerned; in other cases, they have been chosen as excellent examples of a stylistic affinity between Picasso and the relevant British artist. For example, David Hockney is said to have visited Picasso’s major Tate exhibition (1960) eight times, starting a life-long obsession with the artist.  A selection of various Hockney homages to Picasso will be shown. In addition Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion” 1944 (Tate) will be compared with Picasso’s paintings based on figures on the beach at Dinard which first inspired Bacon to take up painting seriously. The exhibition will look 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 will assess the significance of his political status in Britain, from the Guernica tour in 1938-9 to the artist’s appearance at the 1950 Peace Congress in Sheffield. The final section will also consider the artist’s post-war reputation, from the widespread hostility provoked by the 1945-6 V&A exhibition which re-ignited many of the fierce debates about modern art that first raged before the First World War, to the phenomenally successful survey of his career at the Tate in 1960.

artwork: Francis Bacon - "Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion", circa 1944 - Oil on board Each: 94 x 73.7 cm. - Collection of Tate Britain. On view in "Picasso and Modern British Art" until July 15th.

Tate Britain is the national gallery of British art. Located in London, it is one of the family of four Tate galleries which display selections from the Tate Collection. The other three galleries are Tate Modern, also in London, Tate Liverpool, in the north-west, and Tate St Ives, in Cornwall, in the south-west. The entire Tate Collection is available online. Tate Britain is the world centre for the understanding and enjoyment of British art and works actively to promote interest in British art internationally. The displays at Tate Britain call on the greatest collection of British art in the world to present an unrivalled picture of the development of art in Britain from the time of the Tudor monarchs in the sixteenth century, to the present day. The Collection comprises the national collection of British art from the year 1500 to the present day, and international modern art. Some of the highlights of the Tate collection of British art include rich holdings of portraiture from the age of Queen Elizabeth I; of the work of William Hogarth, sometimes called the father of English painting; of the eighteenth-century portraitists Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds; of the animal painter George Stubbs; of the artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood who revolutionised British art in the nineteenth century; and in the twentieth century of the work of Stanley Spencer, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Francis Bacon and the Young British Artists (YBAs) of the 1990s. The very latest contemporary art is presented through the Art Now programme and the annual Turner Prize exhibition. Special attention is given to three outstanding British artists from the Romantic age. William Blake and John Constable have dedicated spaces within the gallery, while the unique J. M. W. Turner Collection of about 300 paintings and many thousands of watercolours is housed in the specially built Clore Gallery. Visit the museum’s website at …