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Exhibition Review : Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy at the Tate Modern from 8th March to 9th September 2018

Tate Modern presents an exhibition entitled Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy which is a unique opportunity to view some of Picasso’s important works created in just one year. This is the first ever solo Pablo Picasso exhibition at Tate Modern and features more than 100 paintings, sculptures and drawings. The exhibition takes visitors on a month-by-month journey through 1932 to explore some of the reasons why it was so pivotal in Picasso’s life and work.

Picasso had turned fifty in late 1931 and had become one of the most famous living artists in the world. However, many critics believed his best years were behind him and Picasso was increasingly restless with his work and his personal relationships. He bought an 18th century mansion in Normandy where he experimented with sculpture and began to consider a new range of works. In late 1931, Picasso completed a small painting called Woman with Dagger which portrayed a woman killing her sexual rival. The strained marital relationship with his wife and his secret affair with Marie-Thérèse Walter would be one of the themes that dominated his work in 1932. 

In February 1932, one of Picasso’s paintings was sold for 56,000 francs in Paris and the artist had started an ambitious range of portraits which included a female figure reading, sleeping and listening to music. A number of these paintings in the exhibition like Reading 1932, The Dream 1932 and Woman in Red Armchair illustrate that Picasso was experimenting with his style which often veered between surreal and abstract.

The next room shows some of the sculptures that Picasso began to produce at Boisgeloup, his Chateau in Normandy.

The Early March room features three works featuring the artist’s lover Marie-Thérèse Walter which have not been shown together since 1932, Made over the course of only five days Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, Nude in a Black Armchair and The Mirror are part of a burst of creative energy with a new sense of colour and sensuality.

The Late March to May sees Picasso revert back to Surrealism with an Octopus motif influenced by French filmmaker Jean Painleve.

The room entitled Fame reflects some of the work that was on display at his exhibition at the Galeries Georges Petit in June 1932. In contrast to the work, he was producing at that time, the exhibition was mainly a retrospective of his early work where his portraits of his wife and son featured prominently.

The July and August room illustrates that Picasso returned back to the style that he was developing before the retrospective with Reclining Nudes and Nude Woman in a Red Armchair.

After the riot of colour in the exhibition, the Black on White room provides a different appeal with a series of drawings and sketches. The September and October room includes a series of drawings based on the Crucifixion that Picasso completed after he had visited Zurich for his first major museum exhibition.

The work in the final room entitled November and December indicated that the early optimism of the year had changed into something darker with a series of paintings about water, drowning and rescue. These are likely to be in response to the concern for  Marie-Thérèse who became seriously ill after swimming in the river Marne.

This fascinating exhibition provides an opportunity to explore the work of Picasso from just one year, 1932. This was not just an ordinary year for the artist, in many ways it can be seen as a mid-life crisis in both his artistic and personal life. Picasso’s response was to throw himself into his work and he produced a remarkable range of work that is often considered some of his best. In many ways it was a year in which he developed a style that defined his work for many years afterwards.  

Video Review available here 

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or book tickets , visit the Tate Modern website here

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Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy at the Tate Modern from 8th March to 9th September 2018

Visitors to Tate Modern from  March 2018 will be offered a unique opportunity to view some of the most important paintings Picasso ever made. It includes three works featuring the artist’s lover Marie-Thérèse Walter which have not been shown together since 1932, the year they were created. Made over the course of only five days Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, Nude in a Black Armchair and The Mirror will be reunited as a highlight of The EY Exhibition: Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy. Each painting is an exceptional loan to Tate Modern, originating from private collections across the globe, offering a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience these outstanding works together.

These three paintings will be reunited for the first time since Picasso’s first full-scale retrospective held at the Galeries Georges Petit in Paris and the Kunsthaus in Zurich 85 years ago. They are celebrated for their role in reaffirming Picasso’s place at the centre of the art world in the early 20th century. Their bold colours and decisive lines describe a sleeping young woman, now instantly recognisable as the artist’s lover Marie-Thérèse Walter with whom he had begun an affair five years earlier, but unknown to viewers at the time. Walter’s horizontal form dominates the lower half of each composition, her head tipped back and the fluid lines of her profile reflecting the gently curving leaves of the philodendron plant in the background.

Picasso embarked on these paintings after an extraordinarily productive start to the year during which he painted such breath-taking works as Rest, Sleep and The Dream. Having recently turned 50 with his first retrospective looming, Picasso was determined to prove his creativity and assert his standing in the contemporary art world against rivals including Matisse. In only five days from Tuesday 8 until Saturday 12 March 1932 he produced these three extraordinary paintings, followed two days later by the iconic Girl Before a Mirror, which will also be on loan to Tate Modern from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. For the first time in 85 years all of these works and more will be shown together, allowing visitors to chart the boundless creativity of this remarkable year in Picasso’s career.

The EY Exhibition: Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy will open from 8 March to 9 September 2018 at Tate Modern.

For more information or book tickets , visit the Tate Modern website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here