Picasso & Modern British Art

  • 4th August − 4th November 2012 | Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art | £10 (£7)

Duncan Grant

In the period immediately before the First World War, Picasso proved a more stimulating example to Duncan Grant than to any other British artist. Grant was introduced to Picasso and his work by Gertrude and Leo Stein who were the most avid of Picasso’s early collectors. When Grant met the couple, the Steins’ had an unrivalled collection of Picasso’s work, including his celebrated portrait of Gertrude and the masterpiece, Nude with Drapery.

Looking at the Steins’ collection, Grant could see the evolution of Picasso’s art from the Blue and Rose periods to cubism. Although sometimes hasty in his incorporation of different styles, Grant was more particular in the methods and styles he took from Picasso. There were three paintings by Picasso which proved to be especially valuable to Grant’s work: Jars and Lemon (1907) provided a formal basis; Nude with Drapery (1907) encouraged Grant to use the cross-hatching technique; and Head of a Man (1913) and Picasso’s papiers collés (collage made from paper) inspired Grant’s experiments with collage and his production of some of the earliest abstract work in Britain. Most importantly, the work of Picasso encouraged Grant to experiment in different, but parallel, styles and media.

Next: Wyndham Lewis