This week Andrew and I took the opportunity offered by his company to access one of London’s most popular exhibitions on at the moment: Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy. This is the first Picasso-only exhibition organised at the Tate Modern and reviews have been excellent so we couldn’t not go.
I didn’t do much homework before visiting so all I knew was that it was an exhibition focusing only on one year of Picasso’s artistic life. I have studied Picasso quite a bit at school (he regularly features in French schools curriculum) so I knew enough about his life and art that I wasn’t completely lost. However, I learned more about the man himself throughout this exhibition than in 12 years at school.
1932 was a key year for Picasso, he was finally famous and successful after many years struggling as a young artist. He had bought a small chateau in France and gotten himself a mistress (never a good idea), but his art was going through a bit of a crisis. What is fascinating about this exhibition is that by focusing on Picasso’s struggle it showcases the vast range of his skills and style.
Picasso is better known for his more abstract work but we easily forgot that his Blue Period was very figurative and representational.
Throughout the exhibition it becomes apparent that Picasso liked to stay very busy, creating at times 3 or 4 paintings a day. He also loved to experiment with different style and forms, going from painting to sculpture and back.
It was interesting to have such an insight into an artist’s life and see how just 12 months can truly make or break even the most talented human being. Even Picasso struggled to stay relevant and recognised as a talented artist. If that cannot make us normal human beings feel better I don’t know what can!
The exhibition is beautifully curated and impressive with more than 100 pieces of art.
Some paintings touch on the topic of Christianity, some look like illustrations out of the Shadocks (one very French reference for you) and one even featured a real butterfly!
I also discovered that Picasso visited Strasbourg, my hometown, which made for an immediate WhatsApp to my parents.
Another highlight of our date night at the museum was to be able to see the sun setting on St Paul from the balcony of the Tate Modern.
I came thinking I knew a fair bit about Picasso and left realising that I still had so much more to learn. The exhibition lasts until September 9th so try to check it out if you can.