V&A Dundee

Modern Masters in Print: Matisse, Picasso, Dali and Warhol

Press release

11 April 2013

Modern Masters in Print: Matisse, Picasso, Dali and Warhol

Exhibition: Friday 23 August to Sunday 17 November 2013

The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum.

Prints by Picasso, Dalí, Matisse, and Warhol – four of the 20th century’s greatest artists – will be displayed in Dundee later this year in an exhibition from the V&A.

'Modern Masters in Print: Matisse, Picasso, Dalí and Warhol’ is the latest in a series of exhibitions being held at The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum in the lead up to the opening of V&A at Dundee.

“These 'modern masters’ each had a profound influence in the art world, but also beyond. Their legacy pervades our culture,” said V&A curator Gill Saunders. “All four were also accomplished printmakers, using the medium to reach a wider audience.

“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 exhibition will highlight the different ways in which each of these four artists used the medium of print.

For Matisse and Picasso, printmaking was one of the many artistic media they employed, and one which they used to explore themes and motifs from other areas of their work. For Dalí, printmaking was an exercise in experimentation, through which he developed many imaginative new processes. Warhol’s prints were his primary means of expression and central to his work. His screen-prints based on mass-produced images challenged the concept of the ‘original’ print.

Lord Provost Bob Duncan, chair of Leisure & Culture Dundee, said, “This is another exciting exhibition for The McManus. People are responding enthusiastically to the benefits of our close partnership with the V&A.

“The McManus is becoming widely known as a quality destination and this exhibition is an outstanding attraction to bring visitors to the galleries and the city.”

Philip Long, Director of V&A at Dundee, said, “Printmaking is a fascinating medium and this outstanding exhibition allows a real insight into the energy and creativity of the period. Modern Masters is a fabulous opportunity to see work from four true exemplars of printmaking and we are delighted that the city’s audiences will have the chance to be inspired by the originality and invention of the work on display.”

The exhibition will run from Friday 23 August to Sunday 17 November 2013 at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum.

Admission free.

Opening hours:

Mon – Sat 10am – 5pm

Sun 12.30 – 4.40pm

Reception: 01382 307200

The exhibition is one of a series of city-wide events coinciding with the prestigious international print conference 'Impact 8', which is being hosted by the University of Dundee.

Image: Untitled from Marilyn Monroe (‘Marilyn’), screen print on paper, red, green, yellow, from a portfolio of ten, pink and grey, 1967 Andy Warhol © Victoria and Albert Museum, London / Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS)

Additional information:

Henri Matisse

Matisse came to painting comparatively late in life, and to printmaking even later. Although for Matisse in his paintings colour was all important, most of his prints are masterpieces of fluent line and subtle tones achieved purely in black and white. They also show his preoccupation with the nude, a genre he constantly reworked.

Matisse’s prints reveal his continual desire to create works that would offer the viewer an experience of peace and tranquillity, without the distraction of the bright palette of his oils.

Pablo Picasso

Picasso had no formal training in printmaking but he quickly learned through a process of trial and error, mastering numerous printmaking techniques with ease. As prolific in the printed medium as he was in the many other media he practised, Picasso produced over 2000 prints ranging from etchings to linocuts. He took full advantage of the opportunities offered by diverse printmaking techniques, employing different modes of impression to suit different themes. Picasso’s continuously evolving style can be charted in his prints. The etchings and aquatints of his maturity are confident and spirited, reiterating themes from his painting and sculpture in a manner both playful and profound.

Salvador Dalí

Dalí was experimental in his printmaking, perhaps placing an even greater emphasis on exploring techniques than on developing compositions. One of his innovative approaches involved setting off a bomb filled with nails and keys next to an engraving plate, which when printed would give the impressions unique markings. Dalí made fine art prints, but also designed posters, such as the vibrant surrealistic ‘collages’ used to promote the French railways in the 1960s.

Andy Warhol

Warhol’s prints were his main creative output, one from which his other artistic activities took their cue. His practice was informed by his early career as a commercial illustrator, when he conceived designs for mass-reproduction in magazines and newspapers. His screenprints appropriate symbols and icons from North American popular culture. For Andy Warhol, the use of a repeated motif was fundamental to every aspect of his work, with even his paintings incorporating printed imagery. Screen-printing – initially a commercial print process – was well-suited to his practice of appropriating images he found in advertising, the cinema, on television, and in the press, whether it was the iconic face of Marilyn Monroe, the figure of Jackie Kennedy, or graphic footage of Civil Rights protests.