The Tate Britain calls Pablo Picasso the “20th century’s single most important artistic figure” and who are we to argue. What we can take issue with is why it’s taken so long for an artist of this calibre to be celebrated in an appropriate way on British soil. It’s an even bigger issue when one realises the enormous influence that Picasso had on British artists and the high regard in which he held this country.
From 15th February 2012 to 15th July 2012, the Tate Britain will be hosting an exhibition entitled “Picasso and Modern British Art”. The Tate has managed to organise the showing of more than 60 pieces of Picasso’s work which will be displayed alongside those of the British artists he influenced such as David Hockney, Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Ben Nicholson and Francis Bacon. In total more than 150 superb pieces of work will be available.
Pablo Picasso first came to Britain in the early 20th century and his work was first viewed by the British public in 1910 but for the next few decades his exposure to the general public was through small exhibitions by dealers unafraid of how fascist Spain and the Spanish were viewed during this period. There were two bigger exhibitions (Burlington Galleries in 1930 and the Whitechapel Gallery in 1939) which did host bigger exhibitions although the political fallout from these events continued for some time.
Post Second World War, the Victoria and Albert Museum hosted a joint Picasso/Matisse exhibition which was visited by an estimated 160,000 people. By this point Picasso had reached his pinnacle and completed his best work – Guernica is recognised as his peak – but it did serve to popularise the artist and influence a whole new generation of British artists.
So you’ve got six months in which to visit what maybe a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition at the Tate – don’t miss out.