Evening Tour: Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy

The EY Exhibition: Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy is London’s must-see exhibition this spring. Focussing on 1932, Picasso’s so-called ‘year of wonders’, the extraordinary show brings together over 100 artworks from that year, many of which are usually held in private collections.

We’re delighted to introduce the first in our new series of Insider Events with a small and intimate evening tour. Book a ticket and join us as we visit the exhibition in a group of just fifteen A Little Bird readers with a private guide.

Friday 20 April 7.30pm

Buy Tickets: £35 eventbrite.com

A Little Bird Exhibition Review

To take just one year of an artist’s life as the subject for a major exhibition may seem confining, reductive, perhaps even dull. Not so with Picasso, as the Tate Modern’s wondrous new exhibition proves in its first ever solo exhibition of the mighty Spanish artist.

Woman on the Beach, 1932. The Penrose Collection. © Succession Picasso/DACS London, 2018

Art for Picasso was a form of autobiography, and, arranged almost entirely chronologically, the 100 plus works, many of which have never before been shown in the UK, take the viewer on a virtual journey through the pages of his diary over the course of one of the most pivotal years of his life: 1932.

Cecil Beaton, Pablo Picasso, rue La Boetie, 1933, Paris. Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s.

And what a journey it is. In this, the year Picasso turned fifty, a rapturous love affair, turbulent marriage, worldwide fame, his first retrospective, and a Promethean level of creativity fuelled a succession of magnificent paintings, sculptures and drawings, some of the greatest of which have made their way to London for this show. Marvel at the difference a day could make in the world of Picasso – from a fearful, nightmarish vision of woman in Le Repos painted on 22nd January, to a sensuous, saturated idyll in the form of the iconic Le Rêve just two days later.

The Dream 1932. Private Collection. © Succession Picasso/DACS London, 2018

It is love, the lustful, all-encompassing, liberating kind, that lies at the heart of this so-called annus mirabilis. At the beginning of the year, the deeply passionate, clandestine relationship that Picasso had been enjoying with his golden muse, Marie-Thérèse Walter suddenly aroused in the artist a succession of colour-filled, ecstatic, deeply erotic paintings. The greatest of these are all here, especially a knock-out trio painted across a few days in March. All in private collections, it is doubtful these icons of passion, uninhibited declarations of all-consuming love, will ever be seen together again in a lifetime.

Nude in a Black Armchair, 1932. Private Collection, USA. © Succession Picasso/DACS London, 2018.

While the glorious fruits of his relationship with Marie-Thérèse are the uncontested stars, plenty of other works as well as a plethora of archival materials – thank you letters, receipts and photographs – add another, more intimate dimension to this exhibition. As the curators state, it is the man not the myth they are seeking to examine. Unlike the earlier iteration held last year at Paris’s Musée Picasso, in London, the chronological galleries are interspersed with thematic ones, lending a greater depth and throwing up further ideas. The importance of sculpture and drawing come to the fore, as does Picasso’s dialogue both with tradition and contemporary movements like Surrealism. And, cleverly, the Tate has used its own collection of Picassos from earlier in his career – most notably the searing Three Dancers of 1927 – in a partial recreation of the Galeries Georges Petit retrospective.

Reclining Nude, 1932. Private Collection. © Succession Picasso/DACS London, 1932.

Above all it is a world of dream and fantasy, both tender and terrifying, that the Tate has conjured. To see an artist at the height of his powers is always a pleasure, but to live through this so-called ‘year of wonders’ is nothing short of joyful.

Review by Honor Hardwick for A Little Bird.

The EY Exhibition: Picasso 1932 - Love, Fame, Tragedy
8 Mar - 9 Sept 2018
Tate Modern Bankside, SE1 9TG
Exhibition & Tour £35
— A Little Bird
7th March 2018