Friday, 18 May 2012

Gallery Trip 1

There is little doubt that one of the major figures in modern art is the prolific Spanish painter, Pablo Picasso. As such his influence can be seen in the works of many artists worldwide, not least here in Britain. The influence he exercised on British artists is the subject of an exhibition currently showing at Tate Britain.

This week I had the opportunity to travel to London and visit some of the current shows and this one was on my list.

It is fascinating to study the works of different artists in juxtaposition to one another and pose questions about their relationships. 

Weeping Woman - Picasso

Three Dancers - Picasso

Girl in a Chemise - Picasso

Duncan Grant spent a significant amount of time in Paris before the First World War and came into contact with collectors of Picasso's work and met the artist himself. He adopted themes from African art like the decorative patterns in the image below. African art was a particular inspiration for Picasso and others used it as a stepping off point for their work.

The Tub - Duncan Grant

Whilst Lewis would go on to criticise Picasso for his limited subject matter, the cubist influence is apparent in works that would become the beginnings of Vorticism.

Workshop - Wyndham Lewis

Nicholson developed a style based on Cubism after visiting Paris and being exposed to Picasso's work in that genre.

First Abstract Painting - Ben Nicholson

Moore and Picasso have many areas of overlap in their areas of interest, not least the relationship between European Classicism and so called Primitive Art.

Reclining Figure - Henry Moore

Bacon said that he decided to abandon a career in interior design after seeing a Picasso exhibition in Paris. He said the representation of the body in these works opened him up to the possibilities of painting.

Three Studies for Figures at the Base of the Crucifixion - Francis Bacon

The wonderful Guernica was a constant reference for Sutherland who used it as inspiration in different aspects of his work.

Crucifixion - Graham Sutherland

The last picture here is one that has had a long lasting impact on my consciousness. I first became familiar with it when I saw a reproduction of it hanging in the home of a school friend's parents. It was the first abstract image that made any sense to my youthful gaze. As with all these images there is no substitute for viewing them in the flesh. That's why I love taking the opportunity to visit exhibitions like this. Now for a visit to the Lucian Freuds at the National Portrait Gallery.

Enamel Saucepan - Picasso


Nora MacPhail said...

Wow, thanks for sharing! Lots of artists for me to catch up on. There is a big Picasso exhibit here in Toronto and I hope to get there next week.
Happy Painting.

Dan Kent said...

Love the summary here. After I finish this comment, I am going to Google "Vorticism" which I have never heard of.

Every time I have seen a Lucian Freud portrait painting in person, btw, I have been blown away!

Mick Carney said...

Nora - It's fascinating to see the influence of Picasso on the whole world of art, in fact it's difficult to ignore him when looking at art made during his lifetime. His various explorations have proved to be a jumping off point for so many.

Mick Carney said...

Dan - Thanks. Vorticism was a relatively short lived offshoot of Cubism whose interest lay in responding to the modern world. Harsh straight lines, strong colour and movement taking the eye towards the centre were characteristics of the movement.

You are so right about Freud and watch this space, another report imminent.