Thursday, 19 April 2018
Time for an Exhibition!
I don't usually write this kind of post, but the Picasso exhibition at Tate Modern was so fascinating that I couldn't resist. It focuses on 1932, an important year for the artist. He had turned fifty the previous October and was in great demand. Success had brought him a grand apartment in Paris, an expensive chauffeur-driven car and, last but not least, marriage to the celebrated ballerina, Olga Khokhlova.
Not bad for a man who had been a penniless Spanish immigrant.
But there was a cloud on the horizon. He was worried that he was being looked on as a painter of the past, not the future. He was aware that critics in the Paris art world were openly sidelining him.
His anxiety unleashed a flood of creativity. 1932 saw the creation of more than two hundred paintings as well as sculptures and drawings, mainly executed at Boisgeloup, the chateau in Normandy that he rented for the summer. Beginning with a mood of sensuous exuberance, in particular the desire to rival his friend Matisse, as the year went on, some works reflected the unease of the time. Increasingly, the world was in the grip of economic hardship and the rise of totalitarian regimes.
Many of those works make unsettling viewing. The ones that drew me back were the ones that celebrate life and love. Particular favourites were these beautiful studies of women, one of them with a book in her lap. The exhibition is on until early September. If you chance to be in London, I highly recommend it.