Exhibition review: Modern Masters

Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol, four artists who all made their considerable mark on the 20th century, were all linked by one common trait – the art of print making.  This is a little-known fact but a new exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum reveals how these modern masters turned to the technique in an attempt to find new means of expression and a way of reaching a mass audience.  

Featuring over 50 works from the V&A’s own collection this is a super chance to see both the more celebrated and some of the less familiar prints from each of these fascinating artists’ varied careers.  Spanning a period of 75 years this is an exciting way of viewing a cross-section of the development of art through the 20th century.

Henri Matisse
© Succession H Matisse/DACS 2010

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In tandem with the exhibition a four part television series for the BBC airing this month aims to show how these artists changed not only the direction of western art, but also the cultural world we live in today.  Presented by art writer and critic Alastair Sooke, the series explains how each of these artists’ legacies continue to live on today in a fascinating insight into how modern art touches areas as diverse as film, fashion, illustration, commercial design and architecture. The influence on architecture in particular can be seen by following one of the new BBC ‘Walks of Art’ – walking guides to modern art in ten British cities.

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Marilyn Monroe screenprint
Andy Warhol
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc/ARS, NY and DACS, London 2001

These are a fantastic opportunity to see art brought to life by an interesting and comical art critic – this is art in real life and I strongly recommend tuning in to both the exhibition and the television series.

Exhibition; 1st May – 23rd June 2010, Free admission; www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/
Television Series; BBC 1, 9pm, Sunday evenings in May.
Walks of Art; www.bbc.co.uk/modernmasters