Exhibiton of ground-breaking prints from British Museum
Picasso Linocuts from the British Museum goes on display at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight from 24 June 2016 to 8 January 2017
The Still Life under the Lamp and the Jacqueline Reading series from the British Museum collection (acquired with the support of the Art Fund) are displayed for the first time outside the Museum in this wonderfully bold and colourful exhibition.
The exhibition, which also features prints from the Nude Woman at the Spring set, reveals the progressive stages of linocutting that Picasso developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Picasso Linocuts from the British Museum highlights a particularly prodigious period in the artist’s life. Picasso had made prints throughout his long career – more than 2,500 principally in etching, lithography and linocut. His earliest linocut is from 1939, but his major period of working in this medium was from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s.
Producing linocut posters for local ceramic exhibitions and bullfighting events in Vallauris with the talented local printer Hidalgo Arnéra, Picasso began to experiment with new ways of producing colour linocuts which rejected the established method of cutting a separate block of linoleum for each colour. Instead Picasso, impatient to see the results, progressively cut and printed from a single block that required him to foresee the final result, as once he had gouged away the linoleum surface he could not go back. This reductive technique also meant it was impossible to reproduce the previously created image afterwards.
Picasso’s astonishing technical innovation and creativity is divulged over the three sets:
- Still Life under the Lamp comprisesnine colour prints, each showing a subsequent stage in the linocut's progression. At each stage the viewer sees an image that would appear finished but Picasso goes further, pursuing it to its final form. Each print is vivid in the retro colours of the 1960s: citron yellow, acid green and bright red. The proofs are extraordinarily rare, and the complete set is unique.
- The second set is four progressive proofs for a monochrome subject, Jacqueline Reading, (1962). The sitter is Picasso’s second wife Jacqueline Roque with whom he lived in the last years of his life. She is posed reading, one hand held to her face and eyes cast down. For this print Picasso used two blocks. In the first block he scratched the surface with a stiff comb to create the tones of Jacqueline’s head and bust. A second block was cut with deeper gouges to leave just her outline. The print from the second block was superimposed over the first to achieve the final image.
- The Nude Woman at the Spring (1962) series consists of four prints inspired by a figure from Manet’s nineteenth-century masterpiece Déjeuner sur l’herbe (Lunch on the Grass). Built in layers of brown and black and white the sinuous figure leans over a waterfall. The figure continued to appear in his later sculptural objects.
Xanthe Brooke, Curator of European Fine Art said:
“Picasso Linocuts from the British Museum reveals how, even towards the end of his career, when he was in his eighties, Picasso was an exceptionally innovative artist.
“Displaying the series of prints in the progressive stages is a superb opportunity to appreciate the complexity of working in this manner and the genius of Picasso’s creativity.”
Picasso Linocuts from the British Museum is the next event in an exciting year for the Lady Lever Art Gallery, which recently opened its newly refurbished South End galleries, following a £2.8m major development project, part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries said:
“We are delighted to continue the celebrations for this important year at the Lady Lever Art Gallery with an exhibition of work by Picasso, arguably the most influential European artist of the 20th Century.
“Lord Lever’s vision, that art should be an inspiration to all, endures almost 100 years later, with this fascinating exploration of an important body of work for this iconic artist.”
This exhibition was developed in partnership with the British Museum and generously funded by the Dorset Foundation.
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Lady Lever Art Gallery
Port Sunlight Village, Wirral, CH62 5EQ
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Notes to Editors
About British Museum
The British Museum was founded in 1753, the first national public museum in the world. From the outset its mission was to be a “museum of the world for the world”. This ambition still lies at the heart of the Museum today. The collection tells the story of cultural achievement throughout the world, from the dawn of human history over two million years ago, until the present day. The Museum is committed to lending its collection as widely as possible across the UK and internationally. britishmuseum.org.
This tour is organised through the British Museum’s National Programmes. The BM’s National Programmes are the strategic framework for the Museum’s programme of engagement with audiences throughout the country. It includes single loans, touring exhibitions, Partnership Galleries and skills exchange. The Museum works with venues of all sizes to share its collection and expertise as widely as possible across the UK. In 2015/16 over 6 million people across Britain saw a loan, exhibition or participated in an activity at their local museum which was organised under the British Museums National Programmes scheme.
The Art Fund
The Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. In the past five years alone the Art Fund has given £34 million to help museums and galleries acquire works of art for their collections. It also helps museums share their collections with wider audiences by supporting a range of tours and exhibitions, including ARTIST ROOMS and the 2013-18 Aspire tour of Tate’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows by John Constable, and makes additional grants to support the training and professional development of curators.
The Art Fund is independently funded, with the core of its income provided by 122,000 members who receive the National Art Pass and enjoy free entry to over 230 museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions. In addition to grant-giving, the Art Fund’s support for museums includes the annual Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year (won by The Whitworth, Manchester, in 2015), a publications programme and a range of digital platforms.
Find out more about the Art Fund and the National Art Pass at www.artfund.org
For further information please contact Madeline Adeane, Press Relations Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org / 0207 225 4804
About the Lady Lever Art Gallery
The Lady Lever Art Gallery houses one of the UK’s greatest collections of fine and decorative art.
An extensive programme of restoration and improvement has been completed at the South End of the Gallery. The £2.8m project enabled 500 square metres of gallery space to be transformed.
The galleries have been returned to their original architectural design and more than 1,500 objects have been redisplayed, including the best collection of Wedgwood jasperware in the world, one of the finest collections of Chinese porcelain in Europe and outstanding 18th century paintings, furniture and sculpture.
The scheme was funded through donations, corporate sponsorship and major grants. This includes generous grants from the following donors:
The Heritage Lottery Fund
Lord Leverhulme Charitable Trust
DCMS/Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund
Garfield Weston Foundation
J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust
The Henry Moore Foundation
Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement
29th May 1961 Charitable Trust
Charles Hayward Foundation
For more information on the project, visit www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/leverplans
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery
About National Museums Liverpool
National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues, including some of the most visited museums in England outside of London. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. We attract nearly 2.7 million visitors every year. Our venues are the Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, Border Force National Museum, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery.