A new, free display, bringing together mid 20th century still life paintings, including Pablo Picassos striking "Still Life with Poron" (1948) - the first oil painting by the artist to enter a Welsh public collection - will be on view at National Museum Cardiff
from Tuesday, 10 November 2009.
"Still Life with Poron" has been acquired by Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales for Ł1.435 million through its Centenary Fund which was created with equal match funding from the Derek Williams Trust over a period of five years. The Fund has contributed Ł1.335 million to the acquisition, which is also supported by a significant grant from independent charity The Art Fund (Ł100,000).
The Centenary Fund has been a joint initiative between Amgueddfa Cymru and the Derek Williams Trust to mark the Museums centenary by making exceptional acquisitions of modern art. The Picasso still life is the most important of these. It will be shown initially alongside work by other leading artists of the 20th-century including Paul Cézanne, Giorgio Morandi and Ceri Richards.
"Still Life with Poron", purchased from E & R Cyzer Gallery, London features a lobster, lemon and a Poron (or porrón - a traditional Spanish wine pitcher) which are laid out on a kitchen table. The work was painted in the artists studio on the Rue des Grands Augustins in Paris in December 1948.
Picasso, the most influential artist of the twentieth century, painted still lives throughout his career. He used the subject of still life to experiment with a wide range of styles and approaches. Although painted after the Second War, "Still Life with Poron" references Picassos single most important innovation the development of Cubism in the first decade of the twentieth century.
Oliver Fairclough, Keeper of Art, Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales explains why the purchase is so important to the Museum. He said: Amgueddfa Cymru has four works on paper by Picasso and acquired a significant group of the artists autograph ceramics for the collection as part of the Centenary Fund last year. Although this is a good representation of Picassos work, an oil painting was missing. "Still Life with Poron" completes our portrayal of one of the greatest creative geniuses of the last century.
By the 1940s every progressive painter had to adjust to or reject Picassos work. Therefore he is as relevant in Wales and in Britain as anywhere. This painting connects the Museums great School of Paris works Manet, Monet, Van Gogh and Cézanne with some of its most important paintings of the postwar period, including the work of artists such as Ceri Richards and Graham Sutherland who had such strong links to Wales.
Minister for Heritage, Alun Ffred Jones commented: I am pleased to hear that Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales has managed to acquire a work by an artist of Picasso's stature. It reflects the commitment by both the Museum and the Welsh Assembly Government to transforming National Museum Cardiff into a place to see world-class art."
Michael Houlihan, Director General, Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales added: We are grateful to the independent trusts who have made this purchase possible namely Cardiff-based charity the Derek Williams Trust - our partners in the Centenary Fund and The Art Fund who have provided generous support. Without the backing of such trusts, museums and art galleries would find it extremely difficult to develop their collections in what continues to remain a highly competitive market for such great pieces.
According to Ivan Sadka, chairman of the Derek Williams Trust: Bringing this painting into the National Museums collection is a fitting tribute to our founder Derek Williams who died 25 years ago this month, as he had a passion for the art of the mid-20th century.
The Art Fund also recognises the significance of this work to Wales. Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund said: National Museum Cardiff is home to many important works by 20th-century masters, but until now, it had no paintings by Picasso. It is entirely right that a work by the greatest master of the last century should join the Welsh national collection, and The Art Fund is extremely pleased to provide the final funds needed to buy the painting, which has spent a large part of its life so far in private hands and will be enjoyed by the public for years to come.
E & R Cyzer is proud to be involved in the sale of "Still Life with Poron". Richard Cyzer from the Bruton Street gallery in London said: We are delighted to be involved in this transaction of a fine example of Pablo Picassos work from a notable date for the artist.
Admission to National Museum Cardiff to view the new display (from 10 November 2009) is free thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.
In September 2010, visitors to National Museum Cardiff will be given a further opportunity to enjoy what currently features in the Museums modern collection through new exhibitions in the Museums centre block. This will be followed by a re-display of its extensive post-1950 art collection in summer 2011.