45 years after the artist’s death, Tate Modern stages its first ever solo exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s work, one of the most ambitious shows in the museum’s history. The EY Exhibition: Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy takes visitors on a month-by-month journey through 1932, a time so pivotal in Picasso’s life and work that it has been called his ‘year of wonders’. More than 100 outstanding paintings, sculptures and works on paper demonstrate his prolific and restlessly inventive character, stripping away common myths to reveal the man and the artist in his full complexity and richness.
1932 was an extraordinary year for Picasso, even by his own standards. His paintings reached a new level of sensuality and he cemented his celebrity status as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Over the course of this year he created some of his best loved works, including Nude Woman in a Red Armchair, an anchor point of Tate’s collection, confident colour-saturated portraits and Surrealist experiments, including 13 seminal ink drawings of the Crucifixion. His virtuoso paintings also riffed on the voluptuous sculptures he had produced some months before at his new country estate.
1932 was a time of both reflection and rejuvenation. Having recently turned 50, Picasso embarked on the first volume of what remains the most ambitious catalogue of an artist’s work ever made, listing more than 16,000 paintings and drawings. Meanwhile, a group of Paris dealers beat international competition to stage the first ever retrospective of his work, a major show that featured new paintings alongside earlier works in a range of different styles. Realist portraits of Olga and Paulo Picasso from a decade earlier revealed the artist’s pride in and tender feelings for his family, while the first public showing of his most recent paintings inspired by Walter made public what had previously been a well-kept secret affair.
In his personal life, throughout 1932 Picasso kept a delicate balance between tending to his wife Olga Picasso and their 11-year-old son Paulo, and his passionate relationship with Marie-Thérèse Walter. The exhibition brings these complex artistic and personal dynamics to life with a range of loans from collections around the world, including the Musée national Picasso-Paris and major international museums, as well as many works from private collections.
The exhibition runs through September 9, 2018.