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Annette King will talk on "Picasso’s The Three Dancers, 1925 and Nude Woman...
Wed 17 May 2017, 18:15 – 20:15 BST
The Three Dancers is one of Picasso’s most iconic works and while it has been the subject of many scholarly essays, there are still questions surrounding its beginnings and what lies beneath the extremely textured surface. An end date is provided by André Breton, but just when Picasso began the painting is not clear. An earlier composition is visible in pentimenti in the surface when viewed with raking light and this composition is clearly of a different character to the final dark, claustrophobic vision created by Picasso. X-radiography, infrared reflectography, visible light imaging and optical microscopy have all provided interesting clues as to what lies underneath the surface. Similarities between the work beneath and a small painting, La Danse, 1923 (location unknown), have been identified by Picasso scholars and in the light of a new X-radiograph, these similarities will be critically examined. The relationship between the two images is complex and has been studied closely in this project, which has uncovered evidence of an earlier grisaille composition which may be related to an incomplete commission in 1923.
In contrast the beautiful painting of Picasso’s mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter, painted in 1932, Nude Woman in a Red Armchair, has the precise date of 27 July 1932 inscribed on the reverse of the strainer. Picasso seems to want us to believe that it was painted fast and furiously in a single day. The technique of this painting has been examined to consider this possibility and in the process revealed the masterful manipulation of materials by the mature Picasso at the height of his powers. The tactile, sensual portrayal of a naked figure lives up to his stated ambition, “I want to paint like a blind man who does buttocks by feel”.
Both paintings were studied as part of a two year Fellowship sponsored by the Clothworkers’ Foundation.
Annette King is a Senior Paintings Conservator at Tate. Joining Tate in 1997 as Assistant Paintings Conservator, Annette was taken on as part of the team who worked on the opening of Tate Modern from 1999 and she has worked extensively on the Tate Collection of modern and contemporary paintings, carrying out both treatment and research. The two-year Clothworkers’ Fellowship 2014-2016 has allowed Annette to carry out in-depth technical studies of works in the Tate Collection by Picasso, Picabia and Ernst. She gained a BA and MA Hons from Cambridge University in French and German and a Postgraduate Diploma in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, followed by the Post Graduate Diploma in Paintings Conservation 1991-1994.