Courtauld show reveals young Picasso's emerging genius

Feb 18, 2013

With many paintings on extremely rare loan, this is an exhibition not to be missed, say the critics

What you need to know
A new exhibition, Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901, has opened at the Courtauld Gallery in London. It focuses on the breakthrough year when 19-year-old Picasso moved to Paris and held an exhibition that would launch his career.

The show features ten key paintings from this debut exhibition with Paris dealer Ambroise Vollard, along with works from his transitional Blue Period, later that year.

The exhibition marks the last chance for to see Picasso's Child with a Dove in Britain. It has been on loan to the National Gallery since 1974, but was sold to an overseas buyer last year. Becoming Picasso runs until 26 May.

What the critics like
This year-in-the-life story of genius emerging is revealed through an "exuberant, magnificently focused selection of early Picassos", says Jackie Wullschlager in the Financial Times.

"Not to be missed," says Rachel Campbell-Johnston in The Times. The "heady brilliance" and "dizzying energy of these pieces", many on extremely rare loan, herald an "astonishing talent".

The Courtauld Gallery has come up with "another real stunner", says Adrian Hamilton in The Independent. The maturing of the artist "comes across remarkably" in this "compulsive show".

What they don't like
Not all of these paintings are masterpieces, says The Economist. Some of the earlier works show a young artist trying on his elders' clothes. "But together this exhibition dramatises a critical moment in the master's making."

Sign up for our daily newsletter