With Picasso museums and exhibitions to be found throughout the world, the unveiling of another unseen piece from the twentieth century’s most famous artist doesn’t these days get the reaction that it might once.
But that’s all changed with the largest piece ever seen from the master at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Measuring 34 by 38 feet, a front cloth that was first hung for a theatrical performance is making sure Picasso has yet again surprised his fans and made the front pages.
The piece is in fact so big it has spent the last 80 years in storage while staff at the V&A have figured out what to do with it.
First hung for a 1924 Parisian performance of Russian dance impresario Sergei Diaghilev’s ‘Le Train Bleu,’ the painting is in fact a copy of the much smaller 1922 original entitled ‘Deux Femme Courant Sur La Plage.’ The huge cloth was tucked away behind the stage’s main curtain, to be revealed right before the ballet began.
Now to be shown again as part of the V&A’s exhibition ‘Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929’ which opens on September 25, the painting is set to impress art and ballet fans alike.
The canvas was folded up in storage for many years, leading to creases that are still visible even after more than two decades in the possession of the V&A, which handled it more carefully. It took a tower of scaffolding, five riggers pulling it up and ten museum staff unrolling it down to hang the front cloth.
Showing two rotund women running on a beach in the early 1920s, there is something hugely liberating about the subjects and the canvas that yet again can hang freely in the limelight it deserves.
For more information about the upcoming exhibition see www.vam.ac.uk