I remember when after WW2 ended, we first saw Picasso’s Cubist portraits with noses and eyes going every which way.
‘My two-year old could do better than that,’ was a common response at the time.
We hadn’t released that his was an intentional interpretation of reality and not lack of ability.
I retired at 60, but Josh went on working until he was 65, so I took some short trips on my own to visit Louise and her family in San Sebastian. On one of them, she and Mark took me to the rebuilt town of Guernica, where there was an exhibition about Picasso’s painting ‘Guernica’, in memory of the bombing by Nazi warplanes at the beginning of the Spanish civil war. Not until after the death of the fascist dictator, Franco, did Picasso allow his original painting to come back to Spain. It is now housed permanently in the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid.
There was a large reproduction of ‘Guernica’, and on either side copies of Picasso’s working drawings. That’s when I realised for the first time what an incredible draftsman he was. There were drawings of feet and heads – and of course his beloved bulls – all drawn in exquisite detail, before being converted into the distorted figures of his final work.
The present exhibition of Picasso’s work at the Royal Academy ‘Picasso on Paper’ is huge. There are works from all of his various periods. As well as his works on and with paper, there are a few oil paintings, sculptures and three dimensional collages. A veritable feast that needs more than one visit.
It was with great relief that we discovered the little bistro-type café set up at the back of the Royal Academy shop, complete with paper tablecloths and coloured pencils so you can imitate Picasso’s habit of drawing on anything and everything. And good strong coffee and crispy croissants.
It’s a must if you can visit London.
On Sunday February 9th on BBC4 you can watch at 9pm ‘The Many Faces of Picasso’ and at 10pm ‘Picasso’s Last Stand.’ Or on iPlayer
I thank all the lovely people who wrote and commented on my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat.’
‘Woman in White Coat – the memoir of girl growing up the East End making good.
Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99 http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat