On 15 February, the monumental exhibition “Picasso & Modern British Art” opened to the public at Tate Britain in London. The show traces all of the significant points of connection between Pablo Picasso and the British art scene, from his influence on artists such as Duncan Grant and Wyndham Lewis in the early years of the twentieth century, through the admiration he inspired in such seminal figures as Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore and Francis Bacon, especially between the wars, to the second half of the century, when he was a source for inspiration to Graham Sutherland and David Hockney, among others.
Although Picasso had been included in the major exhibitions of post-Impressionist art at the Grafton Galleries in London in 1910 and 1912, his real impact on British art can be dated to 1919, the world première in London of Manuel de Falla’s opera The Three-Cornered Hat, for which he designed the sets and costumes.
Cover and back cover of the exhibition catalogue
The show at Tate Britain presents works from public and private collections in the UK and aims to highlight the importance of Picasso’s British friends, such as Douglas Cooper and Roland Penrose. It includes a number of rarely seen works such as the oil Bottle and Books from 1910-11, the 1919 pencil portrait of Vladimir Polunin, or the section of wall from the house of fellow Communist J. D. Bernal on which Picasso made a drawing allegorical of peace when he went to England for the second and last time, in 1950, as a delegate to the World Congress of the Supporters of Peace.
Page inside the catalog with works by Henry Moore and Pablo Picasso
The exhibition brings together a total of 135 works and ends with the crucial Three Dancers, from 1925, which Picasso agreed to sell to the Tate five years after the gallery’s major retrospective of his work in 1960, which had attracted almost half a million visitors. Also on show in this retrospective was the complete series of Las Meninas, just eight years before the artist gave the whole series to the Museu Picasso, and we are pleased to be involved in the present show with the loan of two oils to the section centred on this series.
The show can be seen at the Tate until 15 July, after which it travels to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh for a three-month run from 4 August to 4 November.
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