On Tour: Modern Masters

Modern Masters: Matisse, Picasso, Dalí and Warhol, curated by V&A Senior Curator Gill Saunders, opened last week at The Collection in Lincoln. Next stop on its UK tour will be Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, opening on 23 May.

Gallery technicians prepare to hang the prints at The Collection, Lincoln. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

What is Modern Masters?

Four of the 20th century’s greatest artists – Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol – were also accomplished printmakers. Together, these four artists spanned a 75-year period that saw the birth of the modern age. They employed a wide range of techniques, and their work represents one of the most creative and diverse periods of printmaking in the history of western art. Drawn from the V&A’s outstanding collections of prints, posters and artists’ books, Modern Masters showcases their work in print.

The install

V&A curator Frances Rankine acted as a courier helping to install the exhibition in Lincoln and was struck by the exhibition space:

“The exhibition consists of fifty five framed prints and three books of the work of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. Working in a small team with the Usher Gallery’s Collections Access Officer and three technicians, the installation took four days. On arrival in the gallery the objects were unpacked and checked to ensure there had been no changes in the condition of the objects during their transit from one venue to another. Once the condition reports were signed off the objects were placed round the room roughly in the positions in which they were to be hung and the technicians then worked out the exact placing of the objects on the walls using a digital laser level. The frames were then fixed to the wall and the books installed in a desk case. Finally the gallery was cleared of all the packing crates and equipment needed to install the exhibition and the room was cleaned in preparation for the opening.

The two rooms used for ‘Modern Masters’ at Lincoln are painted black. The objects look magnificent against this background, particularly the large and iconic Andy Warhol prints of Marilyn Monroe which are hung together on one wall. Each print has been given a number in gold placed below the object that links to a booklet containing information on each print. The overall effect in the gallery is impressive.”

Andy Warhol prints ready to be hung. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Where next?

Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery | 23 May – 25 August 2014
Victoria Art Gallery, Bath | 6 September – 23 November 2014
Inverness Museum & Art Gallery | December 2014 – February 2015