A new exhibition – Bacon, Freud y La Escuela de Londres – has rolled into town. Not Órgiva but sunny Málaga which, on this visit, had burst into life like a disturbed ants’ nest. The summer has truly begun and the tourists were out in force. Soon after arrival – but after a plate of fried pulpo and glass of shandy – we were off being all cultured, like.
con jamón spain love art – we really do – and it’s played a big part in our lives from attending art school to visiting myriad exhibitions over the years. We’ve even hung the odd picture of our own to remind us that we once saw the world through different, perhaps more innocent, eyes. (In truth, one of us had an entrance exam portfolio so thin it could have been used to roll a cigarette. The other has a mountain of artwork that, to this day, threatens to snap the joists of the house.)
So having spent years traisping round the Royal Academy in London – and especially its famous Summer Exhibition – we felt at home in Museo Picasso Málaga among like-minded art lovers, many of whom seemed to have been bussed over from the Home counties, such was the prevalence of English accents, ruddy faces and flopsy white hats. Someone even had one of those ‘seats’ that miraculously appears from a stick.
Most people who like art should enjoy this exhibition. It’s a short and digestible feast of works; some instantly recognisable to anyone who’s paid attention to the previous century, or who’s had the luxury of popping into Tate London whenever they fancy. It features artists such as Bomberg, Kossoff, Auerbach, Kitaj, Freud and, of course, Francis Bacon, whose ghost still haunts places we frequented in a past life.
As the guide states: ‘Over periods of their lives and careers they (the artists) – particularly in the 1950s and 60s – were linked by mutual admiration and friendship, socialising in bohemian Soho. They were connected by the conjunctions of historical time and place and were all affected by World War II. They primarily portrayed friends, relatives and lovers, representing the intimacy of their everyday life.’
From studying a simple portrait of Lucian Freud’s first wife, Kitty, seemingly strangling a…er…kitty – to the blood-red madness of a Bacon triptych, influenced by Picasso, we were kept glued to the procession of paintings. Many of the works are from Tate London (who sponsor the exhibition), others from Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane.
Vibrant, challenging and sometimes disturbing, the accompanying wall notes are a great introduction to the exhibition. Seeing a picture you last stood in front of in another part of the world – perhaps two decades earlier – is always a bit weird. But a Paula Rego picture is hard to forget.
Don’t miss it if you’re in Málaga.
March to June open 10am to 7pm: July to August, until 8pm. 7€ adult admission. Museo Picasso Málaga website here. [Exhibition now ended.]
OK, it’s not worthy of a Málaga exhibition but a sketch by one of us, aged 17.
More about the School of London on the Tate London website.
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