Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Pablo Picasso: A Little Mad

London appears to have gone a little mad for old Picasso these last few weeks. First came the National Gallery's new show, Challenging the Past. Curated thematically and packed with his riffs on the Old Masters, it's an impressive collection, albeit let down by the dim-lit surrounds of the Sainsbury Wing basement. However it does offer the chance to see his sprawling take on Velazquez's Las Meninas up close, as well as a number of unusual early self portraits.
     If you do get chance to visit, don't miss out on the print collection that they are showing in Room 1 of the main building either. It's free and offers fifteen extra variations on existing works, taking on Degas, Rembrandt and Cranach with a more voyeuristic outlook.
     Albemarle Street dealer's Connaught Brown are also getting in on the printing act with a collection of minor linocuts and etchings; all blood red femmes, deep cut lines and one thing on his mind. 
     Perhaps most excitingly is The Allure of Language, a new Yale Uni publication that I got my hands on this week. It picks up on how fiction, poetry and philosophy fed into Pablo's early Cubist experiments and blossomed into a life-long fascination with the power of words and images combined. Below are two pages he illustrated for Pierre Reverdy's 1948 book of poems, Le Chant des Morts, or "The Song of the Dead", which are reproduced in the new book.


  1. is that U2 in your banner shot?

  2. Ha! Does look a bit like it. It's a shot by Rene Burri, the Magnum photographer - think it's somewhere in South America.