Yesterday I visited The Higgins Bedford to see two exhibitions, the first of which was Picasso and The Masters of Print. The exhibition is centred around seven prints by Picasso, each one displaying the various printmaking techniques he mastered. Picasso himself is credited with the reduction method of linocutting, which is demonstrated in his piece ‘Still Life with Glass under a Lamp.’ What is most impressive is that Picasso had no formal training in printmaking and his great skill is shown in the etching ‘The Frugal Meal’, which is only his second attempt at printmaking.
The exhibition also displays work by artists who greatly influenced Picasso’s printmaking as well as some of his contemporaries and modern day printmaking masters. You can expect to see work by Durer, Rembrandt, Degas, Matisse, Miro, Paolozzi, Hockney, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Blake and Lichtenstein.
My favourites included two etching and aquatints by Goya, ‘Simpleton About’ and ‘The Folly of Fear’, as well as an etching and aquatint by Paula Rego called ‘A Frog he Would a-Wooing Go’ – a gruesome fairytale image. I really liked the display of the deconstructed Mark Hearld photo lithograph ‘The Rooster and Railway Carriage’. It showed the many colour layers involved in the process.
My favourite Picasso piece is the reduction linocut ‘Still Life with Glass under a Lamp’. The vibrant red and yellow, shapes that show the versatility of linocutting and despite it having four colour layers it has a relaxed feeling, as though he enjoyed cutting it and did not labour over it.