Pablo Picasso. Still Life with Mandolin 1924

Pablo Picasso. Still Life with Mandolin 1924
© SuccessionPicasso / DACS 2011 © Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

February 2012
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Selected works from the
38th Annual Fine Arts Exhibition
Picasso and Modern British Art
Tate Britain
15 February - 15 July
Pablo Picasso. The Three Dancers  1925

Pablo Picasso. The Three Dancers 1925
Tate © Succession Picasso/DACS 2011

THIS FEBRUARY, Tate Britain will stage 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.

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.
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.
After Tate Britain, the exhibition will tour to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. Picasso and Modern British Art is
devised by James Beechey with additional contributions from Professor Christopher Green (Courtauld) and Richard Humphreys. It is
curated at Tate Britain by Chris Stephens, Curator (Modern British Art) & Head of Displays, Tate Britain, assisted by Helen Little,
Assistant Curator, Tate Britain.