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A century of painting life: All Too Human
28 February, 2018 - 1 March, 2018
All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life will showcase around 100 works by some of the most celebrated modern British artists, with Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon at its heart.
A landmark exhibition at Tate Britain next year will celebrate how artists have captured the intense experience of life in paint.
It will reveal how their art captures personal and immediate experiences and events, distilling raw sensations through their use of paint, as Freud said: ‘I want the paint to work as flesh does’. Bringing together major works by Walter Sickert, Stanley Spencer, Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach, R.B. Kitaj, Leon Kossoff, Paula Rego, Jenny Saville, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and many others, this exhibition will make poignant connections across generations of artists and tell an expanded story of figurative painting in the 20th century.
Groups of major and rarely seen works by Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon will give visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the rich sensuality and intimacy of these two modern masters.
Key paintings spanning Freud’s career will explore his studio as both context and subject of his work and will show how his unflinchingly honest depictions of models became more sculptural and visceral over time, in works such as Frank Auerbach 1975-6 and Sleeping by the Lion Carpet 1996.
In contrast to Freud’s practice of working from life, the exhibition will look at Bacon’s relationship with photographer John Deakin, whose portraits of friends and lovers were often the starting point for Bacon’s work, including Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne 1966. Earlier works by Bacon like Study after Velazquez 1950 will be shown alongside a sculpture by Giacometti, both artists having explored the enduring presence of isolated figures.
Looking to earlier generations, the exhibition will show how this spirit in painting had been pursued by artists like Walter Sickert and Chaïm Soutine – key precedents for portraying an intimate, subjective and tangible reality. The exhibition will also shed light on the role of women artists in the traditionally male-dominated field of figurative painting. Paula Rego explores the condition of women in society and the roles they play over the course of their lives, while always referring to autobiographical events, as in The Family 1988. Her work underwent a particularly profound change in the late 1980s and 1990s when she returned to working from life.
All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life is curated at Tate Britain by Elena Crippa, Curator, Modern and Contemporary British Art, and Laura Castagnini, Assistant Curator. It will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and a programme of talks and events in the gallery. The exhibitions will tour to the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest later in 2018.