Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) remains the towering figure in modern art. The innovations of his long career influenced many, if not all, progressive artists in the west. This exhibition examines for the first time the specific relationship between Picasso and British art. It is made up of two interwoven strands.
One strand brings together works by Picasso that were shown and collected in Britain: from the few works seen in Britain before the First World War, through his designs made in London in 1919, works collected between the wars, and the tour of Picasso’s political masterpiece Guernica, to his final establishment in Britain after the Second World War.
Weaving through this are galleries that look at the response to Picasso of seven leading British artists over three generations: Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Graham Sutherland, David Hockney. Some knew Picasso personally; most were responding in their own art to his most recent work. Hockney is the one artist who could survey the entirety of Picasso’s achievement. None followed Picasso slavishly and all took something from Picasso as part of the distinctive development of their own art.
This exhibition also reveals the contribution made by British artists, writers and collectors in promoting Picasso and an understanding of his art.