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Picasso at the National Portrait Gallery

Over 75 Picasso portraits, ranging from well-known masterpieces to works that have never been shown in Britain before, are displayed at the National Portrait Gallery. It is the first large-scale exhibition devoted to his portraiture since Picasso and Portraiture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Grand Palais, Paris in 1996. Now it is in London until 5th February 2017, sponsored by Goldman Sachs, in association with the Museu Picasso, Barcelona, and curated by Elizabeth Cowling, Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at the University of Edinburgh.

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Over 75 Picasso portraits, ranging from well-known masterpieces to works that have never been shown in Britain before, are displayed at the National Portrait Gallery.
It is the first large-scale exhibition devoted to his portraiture since Picasso and Portraiture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Grand Palais, Paris in 1996. Now it is in London until 5th February 2017, sponsored by Goldman Sachs, in association with the Museu Picasso, Barcelona, and curated by Elizabeth Cowling, Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at the University of Edinburgh.

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All phases of the artist’s career are represented, from the realist portraits of his boyhood to the more gestural canvasses of his old age. It includes the extraordinary cubist portrait from 1910 of the German art dealer and early champion of Picasso’s work, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, loaned by the Art Institute of Chicago; and from a private collection, the exquisite portrait executed in 1938 of Nusch Eluard, acrobat, artist and wife of the Surrealist poet Paul Eluard.

Because Picasso did not work to commission and depicted people in his intimate circle, he enjoyed exceptional freedom as a portraitist and worked in different modes as well as many different styles. Formal posed portraits coexisted with witty caricatures. Classic drawings from life next to expressive paintings created from memory, reflecting his understanding of the sitter’s identity and character.
This exhibition has gathered together a group of revealing self-portraits as well as portraits and caricatures of Picasso’s friends, lovers, wives and children. Guillaume Apollinaire, Carles Casagemas, Santiago Rusiñol, Jaume Sabartés, Jean Cocteau, Igor Stravinsky, Fernande Olivier, Olga Picasso, Marie-Thérèse Walter, Dora Maar, Lee Miller, Françoise Gilot and Jacqueline Picasso are among the people visitors will encounter. Complementing these images of Picasso’s intimates are portraits and caricatures inspired by artists of the past – Velázquez and Rembrandt among them – with whom he identified most closely.

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The Museu Picasso, Barcelona is lending most generously to the National Portrait Gallery. Other lending institutions include: the British Museum; Tate; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Musée National Picasso, Paris; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée National d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Museum Berggruen, Berlin; Fondation Hubert Looser, Zurich; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago; Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Iceland. The exhibition also benefits from important loans from the artist’s heirs, and other private collectors.

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The copiously illustrated catalogue provides an original, broadly based account of Picasso’s portraiture and analysis of every work on display. Among the issues explored in detail are the artist’s sources of inspiration, the differences between his approach to portraying men and women, and the complex motivation behind his switches of mode and style, and defiance of representational norms.
‘The exhibition gathers together major loans from public and private collections that demonstrate the breadth of Picasso’s oeuvre, and the extraordinary range of styles he employed across all media and from all periods of his career.’ – Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London.

The support of the exhibition’s sponsor Goldman Sachs is enabling the Gallery to introduce for the first time a special ticket offer, whereby every Friday morning throughout the run of Picasso Portraits, the first 100 tickets will be £5. In addition, they are supporting a wide-ranging learning programme linked to the exhibition.
PICASSO PORTRAITS

6 October 2016 – 5 February 2017

National Portrait Gallery,
St Martin’s Place,
London,
WC2H 0HE
020 7321 6600
Nearest Underground: Leicester Square/Charing Cross
www.npg.org.uk/picasso

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