Picasso and Paper
‘Picasso and Paper‘ …. a tantalising title.
I have seen many Picasso portraits and prints over the years, but this exhibition drew me in with its title.
As one who loves paper, I wanted to see what this new show at The Royal Academy of Arts would teach me about the prolific artist that was Picasso.
I was not disappointed. Picasso clearly loved paper too. One of the first exhibits was a pair of small paper cut outs made as a small child. His eye for detail was clearly present at an early age.
The variety of media that he used, and the sheer volume of his output are made clear in this exhibition. He drew, he painted, he copied, he reinvented, he collaged, he printed, and above all he showed a great sense of humour. One that I had not been made aware of in previous exhibitions.
His fascination with the work of others, and the way he used these as a source of inspiration and creative drive is hammered home in a room containing Picasso’s multiple takes on ‘le dejeuner sur l’herbe’ by Manet. He printed with lino cut , painted, drew and painted again his own versions of the iconic painting. A reminder to all artists that everything we do is influenced in some way by what we have already seen and known.
Likewise with ‘Les femmes d’Alger’ in 1955. Picasso created 15 paintings and numerous drawings based on the original painting by Delacroix.
The ephemera are numerous and fascinating.
From sample papers, to letters, to notes on envelopes to cut out tablecloths and brown paper.
The ephemera might not have survived today in our de-cluttering culture. We should be grateful that he was a hoarder.
His use of everyday materials in collage is fascinating, and emphasises his drive to create with whatever materials he can find.
The word collage was derived from the french ‘coller‘, which meant ‘to stick’ or ‘to glue’. Sometimes he just used pins….
Using a mixture of paper, newspaper, wallpaper and other found materials Picasso made collage in the cubist style.
The bird below is made with paper, photographic wrapping paper and string, cut torn and pinned on cardboard, with charcoal.
I love the way he creates the cage using the background paper and then uses charcoal on the bird..
The list of materials for the collaged etching ‘The Diver’ is unusual ….
… Arches woven paper with muslin, confetti, cotton wool and blotting paper.
The etching appears to me like a hand-stitched drawing, but this illusion may be by my association with the fabrics.
The exhibition is huge. I found I needed two visits to enjoy the whole show.
The highlight of my second visit was a video showing the artist at work.
He is very amusing……
Picasso at work
There is so much more…… and you have got until 13 April to discover it.