Picasso & Modern British Art

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

Graham Sutherland

Graham Sutherland met Picasso in November 1947 and became a fairly regular visitor and acquaintance, if not a friend. Although this encounter came late in the year, it was also in 1947 that Sutherland painted his Homage to Picasso based on Picasso’s La joie de vivre that Sutherland had seen that same year.

Traditionally, the turning point in Sutherland’s career has been identified as his discovery of the landscape of south-west Wales in 1934, which led to his paintings of stylised natural forms. However, he himself noted that after he had started work in Pembrokeshire, some of the forms started to look like works he had seen as reproductions in Cahiers d’Art. If Sutherland’s art tended towards the contemporary art of Paris, the largest impact in the late 1930s and 1940s was Picasso’s Guernica and its related studies.

In these works, Picasso offered an example of an artist engaging in a modern method with the shocking events of the time, as well as presenting a model for using distortion as a means of expression. As Sutherland put it: ‘The forms I saw in this series pointed to a passionate involvement in the character of the subject, whereby the feeling for it was trapped and made concrete.’

Next: David Hockney