The Painter Who Stood for Life against Death; Tate Liverpool's Landmark Picasso Exhibition Will Focus on His Political Beliefs. LauraDavis Discovers They Were as Complicated as His Art

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), May 14, 2010 | Go to article overview

The Painter Who Stood for Life against Death; Tate Liverpool's Landmark Picasso Exhibition Will Focus on His Political Beliefs. LauraDavis Discovers They Were as Complicated as His Art


Byline: Laura avis

HE ARRIVED in Northern England plainly dressed in an old raincoat and blue beret, carrying a bunch of chrysanthemums.

A humble figure on the railway platform but a colossal one in the world peace process.

When he stepped off the boat - he was uncomfortable with flying and only once travelled by plane - Pablo Picasso had been seized by Immigration and questioned for 12 hours.

Eventually, he was allowed to attend the 1950 World Peace Congress in Sheffield, though many other artists and thinkers were not.

To open the event, which was later abandoned due to a lack of speakers, the Spanish painter gave a short speech, stating he had learned to paint doves from his father. He ended by saying: "I stand for life against death. I stand for peace against war."

It is Picasso's appearance at this Congress, vehemently opposed by the Attlee government due to Communist associations with the Cold War, that led curator Lynda Morris to want to hold an exhibition of his work at Tate Liverpool - in the heart of the left-wing North.

Thirty years in the making, it is the first in history to focus on his political beliefs and feature work from 1944, the year he joined the French Communist Party (FCP), to his death in 1973.

"When I looked at the map after the election results, England is a sea of blue but Merseyside is one of the greatest areas of red," says Prof Morris.

"I could have held this exhibition in London, but Liverpool seems a more appropriate choice."

Born in Malaga, Spain, in 1881, Picasso found his political voice in protests over the Spanish Civil War that devastated the country from 1936 to 1939, killing an estimated 300,000 people.

Like many artists and writers, including Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell, he objected to General Franco overthrowing the Republican government for a dictatorship.

His 1937 painting, Guernica, was named after the Basque town bombed by German and Italian warplanes at the behest of Spanish Nationalist forces, and later became a worldwide anti-war symbol.

"As a youngman living in Barcelona, he saw a lot of destitute soldiers returning from the American-Spanish wars over Cuba," says Morris, a professor at Norwich University College of the Arts.

"The First World War broke out then the Russian Revolution and the Great Depression and the Second World War - Picasso was made by that series of events."

Unfortunately, Tate's exhibition will not include Guernica, which due to its fragile state can no longer be moved from New York's Museum of Modern Art.

However, it will feature The Charnel House (1944), another major political work depicting a murdered family sprawled beneath a dining table that suggests the piles of corpses discovered in Nazi concentration camps upon their liberation.

Both paintings are black and white, inspired by newsreels of the time.

The Rape of the Sabine Women (1962), which compares the violence of this episode in Roman History to 20th century events, is also among the works going on display.

Despite being a card carrying member of the FCP - in fact, his membership card is also included in the Tate's exhibition - Picasso's relationship with the Communist Party was a rocky one.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Painter Who Stood for Life against Death; Tate Liverpool's Landmark Picasso Exhibition Will Focus on His Political Beliefs. LauraDavis Discovers They Were as Complicated as His Art
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.