This exhibition reveals how paper allowed Picasso to push the boundaries of thought and practice – inventing a whole universe of art as he went.
Pablo Picasso rewrote the rules of painting, but he also tore up the rulebook for paper. Bringing together 300 of the artist’s works, both on and with paper, this exhibition spans his entire prolific career and represents a significant chapter in modern art.
For Picasso, paper was more than his rehearsal room, more than just a vehicle for nascent ideas. Ever-resourceful, he used everything from café tablecloths and newspaper cuttings to antique papers with distinctive watermarks. He created sculptures with torn and burnt pieces of paper, assembled collages, worked with pastel, gouache and watercolour, and spent decades investigating an array of printmaking techniques – all on the medium of paper.
This groundbreaking exhibition charts Picasso’s ingenious use of this universal material. Highlights include Women at Their Toilette (1937-8), a 4.8 metre-wide collage that will be shown in the UK for the first time in over 50 years. There will also be Cubist papier-collés (cut and pasted papers), sketchbook studies for his great masterpiece, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and documentary footage that offers a rare glimpse of Picasso at work.