Monday, 27 August 2018


Man Ray - Portrait of Picasso 1932

To Tate Modern to see this blockbuster show of Picasso's output from an important single year in his career. Although It is not my favourite period of his incredible output, it is an important exhibition nonetheless, and there is much to love here. The year is 1932 where he was dealing with the pressures of juggling a marital breakdown, hiding a young mistress from his wife and family, preparing for an impending, large retrospective exhibition, the day to day business of creating his artwork, and just being an all round creative genius. The idea of selecting and examining the output of a single year of this particular artists oeuvre is not a new thing, and was done to great effect at the Courtauld in 2013 with their fantastic - Becoming Picasso Paris 1901, exhibition (here). The drama of the personal circumstances in his private life seem to be the spur of much of the creative inspiration in Picasso's work. In the Courtauld exhibition it was fuelled by the death of his friend Cassagemas, and in much of the work in this show it is fuelled by his infatuation and lust for the young Marie-Thérèse Walter. This exhibition is a great showcase for Picasso's inventiveness that demonstrates exactly how Picasso justifies his reputation as an artistic genius.

'When we love a woman we don't start measuring her limbs. We love with our desires - although everything has been done to try to apply a canon even to love.' Pablo Picasso

'Essentially there is only love. Whatever it may be.' Pablo Picasso

'When I paint a woman in an armchair, the armchair, it's old age and death isn't it? Too bad for her. Or maybe it's for her protection.' Pablo Picasso

The piece above, along with the piece below, although not the most important works in the show, were perhaps the two pieces I admired most in the exhibition. I admired the restful colours and close cropping of the composition, which along with the vulnerable sleeping figure of Marie-Thérèse adds to the sense of intimacy of the piece. The painting below - Girl In A Chemise (1905), is in a room devoted to his important earlier works demonstrating his ceaseless inventiveness and experimentation. Girl In A Chemise is from perhaps my favourite period of Picasso's oeuvre - the Blue and Rose period. I admire the sparseness of the brushwork, limited colour palette and overall sense of melancholy that pervades his paintings of this period.The following works in this room of the exhibition featured in his large retrospective exhibition in June 1932. Picasso said of that exhibition -  'I feel like I am witnessing a retrospective vision of myself ten years after my death.'

'You start a painting and it becomes something altogether different. It's strange how little the artist's will matters.' Pablo Picasso

The EY Exhibition
until 9th September
Tate Modern