Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Picasso and Modern British Art - Tate Britain

Pablo Picasso, Compote Dish and Grapes, 1924
Picasso and Modern British Art at Tate Britain until 15 July should be a really interesting exhibition. Britain's relationship to Picasso and Modernism was somewhat equivocal: Andrew Graham-Dixon in his television series A History of British Art unearthed a tape recording of a 1949 speech by Alfred Munnings, retiring president of the Royal Academy, in which he recounted a conversation with Winston Churchill: he [Churchill] said to me: "Alfred, if you met that Picasso coming down the street would you join with me  in kicking his something something?" I said, "Yes, sir! I would!" (Graham-Dixon, A. (1996) A History of British Art, London: BBC, p82)
On the other hand, Richard Shone, in Pablo Picasso and his influence on British Art, recounts how members of the Bloomsbury Group - Clive and Vanessa Bell, and Duncant Grant  - were early enthusiasts for, friends to, and collectors of, Picasso.
The exhibition includes work by British artists who were admirers of Picasso: Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, Francis Bacon and David Hockney. It will be interesting to see whether these artists can stand comparison with Picasso - whether or or not, the exhibition will be a treat just for seeing the Picassos.
Read reviews by Laura Cumming, Jonathan Jones and Richard Dorment.
Pablo Picasso, Man with a Clarinet, 1911-12
Pablo Picasso, The Source, 1921
Pablo Picasso, The Three Dancers, 1925
Pablo Picasso, Weeping Woman, 1937
Pablo Picasso, Nude Woman in a Red Armchair, 1932


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  2. were early enthusiasts for, friends to, and collectors of, Picasso.

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