Walker displays rare Picasso drawing for the first time

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Image of the drawing, Study for Temptation of St Anthony (1909), by Pablo Picasso  Study for Temptation of St Anthony (1909), by Pablo Picasso

We're thrilled to have acquired a drawing by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, which will go on public display for the very first time from 14 July - 31 October 2015.

The drawing, Study for Temptation of St Anthony (1909), will be on show as part of a new display 'Picasso on Paper' at the Walker Art Gallery.

Formerly owned by the great British painter and collector Lucian Freud (1922-2011), the drawing was gifted to National Museums Liverpool by Arts Council England as part of the Acceptance in Lieu scheme.

Xanthe Brooke, Curator of European Fine Art at National Museums Liverpool, tells us why the drawing is so important:

“Picasso is without doubt one of the most significant artists of the 20th century and this drawing is a rare example of a religious theme by the artist. It shows him toying with the early cubist style he helped to create.

It is also fascinating to note that the drawing once hung in the home of Lucian Freud, whose work is also on show at the Gallery. In fact, the frame that the drawing will be presented in here is the frame in which Freud displayed it, after receiving the drawing as a gift from his friend, the Picasso expert Sir John Richardson.”

Study for Temptation of St Anthony depicts the sensual temptation which St Anthony the Great is believed to have faced during his time in the Egyptian desert. The erotic story fascinated Picasso early in his career the drawing is given a typical Picasso twist with the introduction of a Harlequin.

Picasso on Paper will feature another drawing by the artist, Pau Cucurny with a dog (1903), along with a gouache watercolour by Spanish artist Enrique Garrán (?1899-1962), who was greatly influenced by Picasso’s cubist style.

Study for Temptation of St Anthony is the second major work from Lucian Freud’s collection that the Walker has acquired through Arts Council England’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme. In 2013, we received Degas’ sculpture, The Masseuse (modelled mid-1890s, cast after 1918), which is on display in room 10.

You can also see Freud’s Interior at Paddington (1951) in room 11, while the artist’s Girl with Beret (1951) features in our new temporary exhibition, REALITY: Modern and Contemporary British Painting, which runs until 29 November 2015.