The London gallery made the announcement at a press conference yesterday, focusing on the portraits created by Pablo Picasso. 

Portrait of Olga Picasso, Pablo Picasso, 1923. (c) Succession Picasso/DACS London 2016. 

This new exhibition devoted to the artist’s portraits is the first major display of these works for twenty years and will run at the gallery from the 6th October until the 5th February 2017.

Picasso Portraits, created in association with the Museu Picasso, Barcelona, will include over 75 portraits in a wide range of media and a combination of well-known masterpieces to works that have never been seen in Britain before.

The exhibition will cover all aspects of Picasso’s career, including the realist portraits of his boyhood to the canvases of his later years. The last display to focus on his portrait works was the Picasso and Portraiture exhibition, which took place at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Grand Palais, Paris in 1996.

As Picasso didn’t work to commission and depicted people in his inner circle, he enjoyed freedom as a portrait artist that many others did not, allowing him to work in many different modes as well as styles.

Picasso Portraits will feature a group of self-portraits, as well as portraits of those in Picasso’s intimate circle of family and friends. To complement these paintings, the exhibition will also include portraits that were inspired by artists such as Velázquez and Rembrandt, with whom Picasso identified most closely.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: “We are delighted to stage Picasso Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, a collaboration with Museu Picasso, Barcelona, which focuses on the artist’s reinvention of time-honoured conventions of portraiture, and his genius for caricature. The exhibition gathers together major loans from public and private collections that demonstrate the breadth of Picasso’s oeuvre and the extraordinary range of styles he employed across all media and from all periods of his career.”

Bernardo Laniado-Romero, Director, Museu Picasso, Barcelona, said: “The two organising museums, one dedicated to portraiture and the other to Picasso, are the natural instruments to bring forth a reassessment on how Picasso, time and time again, redefined portraiture throughout the twentieth century. The exhibition will surprise and confront one’s preconceived ideas of what a portrait should be and how a portrait by Picasso ought to look like.”

Picasso Portraits is curated by Elizabeth Cowling, Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. Her publications include Picasso: Style and Meaning (2002) and Visiting Picasso: The Notebooks and Letters of Roland Penrose (2006). She has co-curated several exhibitions, including Picasso Sculptor/Painter(1994), Matisse Picasso (2002–3), and Picasso Looks at Degas (2010–11).

Picasso Portraits will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery from the 6th October to the 5th February 2017. For more information and to book tickets visit:



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