There are a lot of pieces of art in this exhibition, and many pieces that I haven’t seen before. Picasso was prolific, he had a very long productive span and it is interesting to see pieces here from each part of it.
His portraits are representative of his career in general, in that some of them appear disposable, some are sublime, but all are interesting. Some are interesting because they show his amazing technique, others because they give us insight into the character of the model and some because they shed light on his own disposition.
There are probably close to 100 portraits here. A cubist bust of Fernande Olivier is technically wonderful, a childlike painting of his daughter, Maya, at 2 is moving. A metal 2 dimensional bust of Jaqueline is clever and inventive.
There are many portraits of Olga, his wife, showing varying aspects of their relationship. The most famous of these is probably “Woman in a Hat” painted towards the end of their marriage which manages to be both beautiful and cruel.
There is also a doctored photograph of Esther Williams that is misogynistic and insulting.
I left the exhibition thinking that I really like Picasso the artist, but I doubt that I would have liked him in person.
Perhaps, this is what made him a great artist – he was able to display to us how he felt, but did not care how we felt about him.
It is a show that I would consider returning to, but £17.50 (without the expected £2 donation) a time, would discourage repeat visits. However, I felt it worth the money overall. The National Portrait Gallery is free (expected £2 donation) for general entry and is packed with lovely stuff.
The pictures at the head and foot of this article are self-portraits, at 15 and at 90.
Georgia O’Keeffe at the Tate Modern is a very big exhibition. There are thirteen room filled with paintings from every period of her career and there are also some works by her friends and collaborators. It was a nice, unexpected bonus to see some Americana by Ansell Adams included in the show.
It is arranged mostly chronologically and with so many pieces on show, you can watch her style developing through the decades. The earliest pieces are from the 1910s and you can see a hint of the time in them. The 1920s pictures and the New York ones have the slightest art deco feel and her ability with colour is profound even from the earliest days.
The 1920s,1930s flower pictures are probably her most famous and they look so modern, vibrant and current even now that it is difficult to imagine how new they must have seemed 80 odd years ago.
Georgia O’Keeffe’s move to New Mexico brought another complete change of style. the only common factor being the inspired use of colour throughout. There are also series from the 1940s and 1950s where some are more minimalist in nature and others are figurative.
The latest pictures date from the 1960s and you can also see the times reflected here.
Initially, I thought that the entrance fee, around £16, was pretty steep for a single show. However, it is probably one of the largest shows that I have ever seen, you won’t really feel like seeing much else in the Tate Modern on the same day, and the quality of the paintings is such that, on balance, it is good value for money. There is also enough depth to the exhibition that you can really see the arc of her development as you walk round the show and it is very interesting to watch those changes over the course of such a long, talented career.