30 July 2018
The Tate’s latest exhibition ‘Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy‘ examines an intensely creative period in the artist’s life. In the same year, Jim Ede, founder of Kettle’s Yard, wrote an article in Cahiers d’Art on Picasso, where he described the artist as “too big an event to be talked of at this moment when we are fulfilled by his greatness.”
Jim was a curator at the Tate and was involved in the first Picasso being shown there. In ‘Between Two Memories‘, Jim talks about meeting Picasso.
“It had been with eager anticipation that I had gone to Paris to meet Picasso. I was not yet 30, and as I climbed the stairs to Picasso’s studio I was trying to calm the excitement which I felt. I was always nervous when about to meet anyone, perhaps because I had no sense of personal weight or importance, and thought I might well have a door slammed in my face, and so it was with an intense desire to run away that I rang a bell, knocked on a door, or even waited for a reply to a telephone call. The agony was of course prolonged if a servant opened the door and another period of waiting ensued. It was because of this that in our various houses we never had a bell; we mostly kept the front door open and either I or Helen was quickly there to welcome a friend. Picasso, too, opened his own door and I at once felt at home in his frank regard and friendly handshake. It must have been Picasso’s good nature that made the meeting so happy, for to my astonishment I stayed several hours. What we talked of I can’t now remember, we just looked at all the pictures there were, and every picture was a new adventure.”
“It was a house entirely after my own heart, all white and gray, with a casual air of expectancy, and there, not hanging on the walls, but living on the walls, Picasso’s paintings.”
“I was always struggling to come to a comprehension of Picasso whom I thought too big an event to be taken in at so close a range All I could do was to look at his work and hope that something of its vigour would stir me into a clearer activity in my immediate job.”
Jim Ede once visiting Picasso had been looking at many cubist pictures in the studio, clear blues and whites, cold and grey. They had been discussing titles of pictures – “And what would you say these were?” Picasso asked. Jim said they made him think of yachting in the Mediterranean, and Picasso replied: “and people say I’m not a good portrait painter. They were all done from a yacht in the Mediterranean”
In Jim’s 1932 article he writes “In an entirely new generation it will be possible to judge of Picasso’s work, for it will then be seen in some perspective”. In this ‘Picasso 1932..’ the Tate Modern’s first solo exhibition of the artist’s work, we can look with this predicted perspective on paintings, sculptures and drawings, mixed with family photographs and rare glimpses into his personal life.
Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy continues until 9 September 2018.