Picasso: Peace and Freedom

Picasso: Peace and Freedom

Tate Liverpool

Pablo Picasso The Charnel House, Paris 1944 – 5
© Succession Picasso / DACS London, 2010
Photo: © 2010 Digital Image, The Museum of Modern Art, New York /
SCALA, Florence

May 21, 2010

Picasso: Peace and Freedom
21 May – 30 August 2010

Albert Dock
Liverpool, L3 4BB, UK
+ 44 (0) 151 702 7400


A major exhibition bringing together over 160 works by Picasso from across the world will be presented at Tate Liverpool from 21 May to 30 August 2010. Picasso: Peace and Freedom will reveal a fascinating new insight into the artist’s life as a tireless political activist and campaigner for peace, challenging the widely-held view of Picasso as playboy and compulsive extrovert.

After 1944 Picasso became a public figure and hero of left wing causes. He joined the Communist Party in 1944 and during this period the political content of his work came to the fore. His paintings frequently reference key historical moments, chronicling human conflict and war, but also a desire for peace. This is the first exhibition to explore Picasso’s political engagement in the Cold War era, and how the artist transcended the ideological and aesthetic oppositions of East and West.

The exhibition will bring together almost 60 paintings and sculptures as well as 100 key drawings, prints and posters related to the theme of war and peace from 1944 to 1973. The centrepiece will be The Charnel House 1944-45, which was last seen in the UK 50 years ago – Picasso’s most explicitly political painting since Guernica 1937. Monument to the Spaniards who Died for France late 1945 to 31 January 1947 will also feature along with still lifes, The Women of Algiers 1954-55, Las Meninas 1957, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (after Manet) 1959-61, and The Rape of the Sabines 1962, painted at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. A range of documentary materials, including newspapers, magazines and books featuring Picasso’s work as well as photographs bring the period alive.

Picasso’s Dove of Peace became the emblem for the Peace Movement and universal symbol of hope during the Cold War. Picasso’s lithograph of the fan-tailed pigeon given to him by Matisse in 1948 was selected for the poster of the First International Peace Congress held in Paris in 1949. Picasso provided variations on the dove for Congresses in Wroclaw, Stockholm, Sheffield, Vienna, Rome and Moscow. The dove had a personal significance for Picasso invoking childhood memories of his father painting doves. In 1949 Picasso named his daughter ‘Paloma’ – Spanish for ‘dove’ – born in the same month as the Peace Congress in Paris.

The exhibition is organised by Tate Liverpool in collaboration with the Albertina, Vienna where it will be presented 22 September 2010 – 16 January 2011

Picasso: Peace and Freedom is curated by Prof. Lynda Morris, AHRC Research Fellow at Norwich University College of the Arts, and Dr. Christoph Grunenberg, Director, Tate Liverpool.

Supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
With additional support from the Spanish and Andalucía Tourist Offices and the Spanish Embassy Cultural Office. Special thanks to the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte and Arte and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Media Partner: The Times. Travel Partner: Virgin Trains

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May 21, 2010

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