19 February 2012

What Picasso did for British art

Sunday morning found us at a Temple of Art, Tate Britain, paying close attention to the Picasso exhibition. About half the 150 works are by Picasso; the rest by some British artists whose work shows his influence - Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, Francis Bacon, David Hockney.

Picasso wasn't much known in Britain before the Tate had a show of his work in 1960, but his work appeared in various art journals (which could be seen at bookshops like Zwemmers) and some artists had met him in Paris or seen his work in private collections. 

The works that stick in my mind are the Seated Woman in a Chemise (which is in the Tate's collection)
Ben Nicholson's double profile in a mirror, which doesn't seem to be online - an oil painting, mostly black, with incised lines, and the "grey" areas are reflective, suggesting they are graphite. Here's Nicholson in his Hampstead studio about the time he was doing his profile paintings
Picasso's 'winged bulls' in the ICA guestbook in 1950, which was used as the design for a fundraising scarf (this was also in the British Museum drawing exhibition recently, but I missed seeing it; surely haven't forgotten...?) -
Once back home I made the mistake of reading a review of the show, which suggested (or rather, the quote added by a subeditor did) that Moore is plagiarising Picasso here -
To think it was Picasso himself who said, "Good artists copy; great artists steal."

1 comment:

Olga said...

I love the Nicholson you mentioned, and am very much looking forward to seeing the exhibition myself.