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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
Art giants meet at Tate Modern
Serenade, Pablo Picasso, copyright Succession Picasso 2002
Serenade by Pablo Picasso
An exhibition of works by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse is expected to draw thousands of visitors to the Tate Modern gallery, London, when it opens later this week.

The gallery is expecting to sell out its 500 tickets-an-hour and possibly break its record for attendance figures.

The show is billed as the first major exhibition in more than half a century to compare the work of the two giants of 20th-Century art.

The two artists can be seen in more than 30 groupings of works spread over the 14 galleries of Tate Modern.

Enlarge image Enlarge image
Pablo Picasso
Boy Leading a Horse (1906)
Oil on canvas
7'2 7/8 x 51 5/8"

The show is designed to "reveal the affinities, but also sometimes the extreme contrasts" between the artists, who were friends and rivals.


The artists' relationship is traced from its beginnings in Paris in 1906, when they first began to meet regularly in the apartment of Gertrude and Leo Stein.

After Matisse's death in 1954 Picasso paid tribute to him in his work, both directly and indirectly.

Picasso said of his friend: "Matisee is a magician, his use of colour is uncanny."

But from 1906 to 1917 there was open rivalry between the artists as they led innovation in 20th-Century painting.

Picasso and Matisse are two of the most important artists of the last century.

Pablo Picasso is widely regarded as the father of the cubist movement, in which three-dimensional figures are flattened out so that the front, rear and side can all be seen on one canvas.

Ecstatic reviews

Matisse's artistic career was long and varied, covering many different styles of painting from Impressionism to near Abstraction and he was one of the founders of the Fauvist movement, which triumphed aggressive, colourful and spontaneous painting.

Enlarge image Enlarge image
Henri Matisse
Le luxe I (1907)
Oil on canvas
6' 10 5/8 " x 54 3/8"

The show has already garnered ecstatic reviews from the British press.

"In gallery after gallery we come across some of the most beautiful and complex works of art," wrote Richard Dorment in the Daily Telegraph.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the Tate, the Réunion des musées nationaux, across France, the Musée Picasso, the Musée national d'art moderne and the Centre Georges Pompidou, all in Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Matisse-Picasso opens at Tate Modern on 11 May and runs until 18 August.

See also:

29 Dec 01 | Europe
Turkey takes down fake Picassos
25 Jan 02 | Reviews
Paris stakes its claim
29 Jun 01 | Reviews
Lasting impression
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