Emmwood Daily Mail 6 July 1960

Emmwood, Daily Mail 6 July 1960

© Associated Newspapers. British Cartoon Archive, University of Kent

Only after the Second World War did Picasso become established in Britain. Peace was celebrated with an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Matisse and Picasso. While Matisse presented a small retrospective of his career, Picasso sent only works made during the war. Despite official recognition, he still attracted controversy: four years later, in 1949, the departing President of the Royal Academy unleashed an uninhibited attack on Picasso live on BBC radio.

Picasso featured regularly at the Institute of Contemporary Arts established by Roland Penrose. A leading collector of Picasso’s art, Penrose had become a friend and Picasso supported the ICA with frequent donations. The ICA’s second exhibition, 40,000 Years of Modern Art, included his Desmoiselles d’Avignon.

In 1950, Picasso made his second and final visit to Britain as a delegate to a Communist-sponsored peace conference in Sheffield. When the conference was abandoned because of government intervention, he spent several days in London and at Penrose’s farm in Sussex.

Picasso’s position was finally secured in 1960 when the Arts Council presented at the Tate Gallery the largest exhibition of his work to date. The retrospective included the series of recent paintings after works by Delacroix and Velazquez. It was extremely popular, attracting huge publicity and almost 500,000 visitors.