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Sat, 30 May 2020

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Review: The Picasso and Paper exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts

Review: The Picasso and Paper exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts
2 min read

With over 300 works on paper, a collection that spans eighty years, this exhibition certainly lives up to the hype, writes Sir Peter Bottomley


Each year the members of the Lords and Commons Arts & Heritage group host a reception for the curators, directors and trustees of the museums and galleries that kindly host visits by the APPG. 

The Picasso and Paper exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts will have been one of the most  memorable (together with the opportunity to appreciate the less known visionary Belgium Léon Spilliaert in the Sackler gallery).

Eighty years and over 300 works on paper illustrate the changes on the artistic life and friendships of Pablo Picasso. There are printmaking techniques, there are simple illustrations and there is in the last room the fascination film of the artist creating a fish that develops into a chicken that he turns into the face of a woman. 

Those who recall earlier Picasso exhibitions know that each lives up to the hype. This perhaps can be judged as best bringing together the changing themes in his life and art. The paper pig and his cut out bird demonstrate his exact eye for detail from the start. He shows enjoyment of the work of others. He used paper of every kind as the basis of paintings and sculptures. 

Look out for his developments of Delacroix’s Les Femmes d’Alger and Manet’s Le Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe. 

Images that stick include the 1917 drawing on hotel paper of Olga and Picasso in Naples. One reviewer pointed me to the 1943 mask made in Paris 1943 from a torn tablecloth. 

The Mystery of Picasso film is available online. The Picasso Paper exhibition stays in London until 13th April. 

The APPG on Arts and Heritage

Members of the Commons and the Lords can join the APPG for a small subscription each parliament. We can support our great institutions and also take the opportunities to appreciate the exhibitions that make the UK a cultural contributor to the world’s heritage and arts. 

Sir Peter Bottomley is Conservative MP for Worthing West and chair of the APPG on Arts and Heritage

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Culture