Professor Lynda Morris, Senior Lecturer at Norwich University College of the Arts, has co-curated a major new exhibition of Picasso’s work, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). ‘Picasso: Peace and Freedom’ will reveal a fascinating new insight into the artist’s life from the Liberation of Paris in 1944 until his death in 1973.
Professor Morris’ research for the exhibition involved visiting archives in Paris and the USA to view political papers and letters sent to Picasso – in some instances for the very first time. She spent three months working at the Picasso archive in France and accessing, for the first time in detail, the 37 boxes of political correspondence it held. This correspondence not only puts his work of that time into a political context but also enabled Professor Morris to specify which artworks were essential for the exhibition.
Professor Morris said “One of the key discoveries to come out of my research has been that Picasso dated his work in these years on a daily basis. You can go back and see how political events of the time were influencing his subjects. His choice of black and white for many of these political works reflect the newsreels and newspapers of the period that were inspiring him.”
This is the first exhibition to explore the post-War period of the artist’s life in depth and brings together over 150 works by Picasso from across the world. In addition to key paintings and drawings related to war and peace from 1944-1973, the exhibition also has a wide range of contextual materials including two telegrams from Fidel Castro. The centrepiece is The Charnel House (1944-45) from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, marking 50 years since it was last seen in the UK. This remarkable work was Picasso’s most explicitly political painting since Guernica 1937.
Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: “Support for the arts from the Research Councils enriches our daily lives. World leading UK research has uncovered the stories behind every brushstroke in this Picasso exhibition. I am sure this exhibition will help expand our knowledge of this most enigmatic and influential artist – and challenge long held perceptions of him.”
Alice Hynes, CEO GuildHE, commented, “We are delighted to see a colleague from a GuildHE institution leading on such a groundbreaking project and working with the Tate in contributing to the UK’s cultural events. The support from the AHRC demonstrates the importance of government funded research in bringing exciting and informative exhibitions to the public.”
Professor John Last, Principal of Norwich University College of the Arts, said, “We are extremely proud of Lynda’s achievement and this serves as another example of the quality of research and academic expertise of our staff.”
Notes to editors
1. Picasso: Peace and Freedom is at Tate Liverpool until 30 August 2010. Further information on the exhibition can be found on the Tate website