Tate Modern is to devote a major exhibition to a single “pivotal” year in Picasso’s prolific career. Perhaps surprisingly, Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy (8 March-9 September 2018) will be the first solo show dedicated to the artist’s work at the London gallery. With important pieces on loan from museums and private collections, it will also be “one of the most significant shows the gallery has ever staged”, according to a press release.
Sponsored by the accountancy firm Ernst & Young and co-organised with the Musée Picasso Paris, where the show opens on 10 October (until 11 February 2018), Picasso 1932 will bring together more than 100 paintings, sculptures and works on paper. Tracked month by month, they mark an intensely productive and turbulent time in Picasso’s art and life. Torn between an unhappy marriage with the dancer Olga Khokhlova and a passionate affair with the young Marie-Thérèse Walter, the 50-year-old artist worked in a range of different styles. Tate’s exhibition will include his realist portraits of Olga and their son Paulo as well as voluptuous sculptures inspired by his secret mistress.
Among the highlights will be two colourful, sensuous paintings depicting Marie-Thérèse: Girl Before a Mirror, which rarely leaves the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and The Dream, from the private collection of the billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen. The Dream, which has never been shown in the UK before, underwent restoration after its previous owner, the Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn, accidentally put an elbow through it in 2006. It first appeared in Picasso’s milestone 1932 retrospective at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris, which together with the publication of the first volume of Christian Zervos’s epic catalogue raisonné, secured the artist’s celebrity status.
The show takes its cue from Picasso’s own description of his work as a kind of diary, says the co-curator Achim Borchardt-Hume, Tate Modern’s director of exhibitions. “By showing stellar loans from public and private collections in the order in which they were made, this exhibition will allow a new generation to discover Picasso’s explosive energy, while surprising those who think they already know the artist,” Borchardt-Hume says.