To have had some actual sun at home this summer is a pleasure. Perfect timing as London’s exhibition and festival season swings into gear. It’s an even greater pleasure to be able to see some of the most warm and decadent work of such a major artist right on one’s doorstep.
Picasso: The Mediterranean Years (1945–1962) runs until August 28. It is showing at the Gagosian — a cavernous commercial art gallery somehow tucked away on Britannia Street, WC1. The show has the makings of a minor blockbuster. The artist’s biographer and friend John Richardson and grandson Bernard Ruiz-Picasso have curated an impressive Picasso menagery of sculptures, large canvases, ceramics, prints and papercuts. Step off the hot cobbled street and into the cool, dark foyer, and a light-bathed terracotta vase painted with a yellow bikini sets the scene.
There’s vitality and whimsy clearly running through the whole show — this is Pablo Picasso in his sixties, successful and in rude health, with a new lover, new children, chasing the sun in the south of France. An exhibition not to be missed this summer. I'm going back for another solarium-like session.