This new show at the Tate Modern focuses on the year 1932, often referred to as Pablo Picasso’s ‘year of wonders’. Taking visitors on a month-by-month journey, the exhibition acts as a diary and shines a spotlight on how intensely creative this period was for one of the 20th century’s most influential artists.
Over the course of this year, Picasso created some of his most celebrated works, many of which can be viewed here. Despite being married and spending much time in the countryside with his family, 1932 also saw Picasso locked in an intense affair with his muse, Marie-Thérèse Walter, who at 22 was 28 years his junior. Walter is the star of both Jeune Fille Devant un Miroir (Girl before a Mirror) – a portrait that rarely leaves MoMA – and the Le Rêve (The Dream), which is being shown in the UK for the very first time.
The exhibition also marks the first time a trio of reclining nudes has been shown together for 85 years. Reunited across one wall, the sexually charged triptych makes a bold statement – as it did, rumour has it, to his wife Olga when they were exhibited together in Paris in 1932.
Away from his surreal, colourful paintings, visitors can expect to view over 100 sculptures, works on paper and lithographs that span realist images of his wife and son juxtaposed against a series on Christ’s crucifixion and a collection of portraits that depict a drowning woman being saved (another ode to Walter, who fell ill after swimming in a polluted lake). Poor Olga.
Alongside the retrospective, the Tate Modern has launched a two-course lunch to compliment the avant-garde artist’s works. Served in the gallery’s Kitchen & Bar, Head Chef Jon Atashroo has designed a £29pp set menu drawing inspiration from specific regions and restaurants Picasso visited during his lifetime. We like the sound of the Spanish tortilla with aioli, which harks back to a 1962 interview with Vogue, where Picasso claimed it was one of his favourite dishes. Visiting at the weekend? Guests can enjoy similar dishes on the brunch menu, before heading in to the exhibition.
Bankside, SE1 9TG; running until 9th September 2018