Picasso and Modern British Art exhibition at Tate Britain

For David Hockney (born 1937), Picasso has long been an inspiration. As a student, Hockney made several visits to the 1960 exhibition at the Tate Gallery. It taught him that an artist need not adhere to a single style and in 1962 Hockney dubbed his Young Contemporaries exhibition ‘Demonstrations of Versatility’.

Following Picasso’s death in 1973, Hockney made two prints in tribute. Other works from the 1970s also refer to Picasso.

In 1980 Hockney had a commission from the Metropolitan Opera, New York, that included a design for Parade based on Picasso’s designs for the ballet’s 1917 première. While in New York that year, he saw a Picasso retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art which reinvigorated his belief that Cubism marked a turning point in pictorial representation. This directly affected his painting and prompted him to use photography to depict the world in a Cubist fashion. The resulting photographic collages replaced drawing in Hockney’s practice for several years.

Hockney was an early advocate of Picasso’s late style. For a lecture on ‘Important Paintings of the 1960s’, he selected only works by Picasso. Cubism remains a stimulus: Hockney has recently applied the multi-directional view of his ‘cubist’ photographs to video.