Thanks to a £1 million donation from a City fund manager in honour of his late father, the museum has acquired a collection of 100 etchings never before been seen in public, which lay bare Picasso's creative process.
Described by the man himself as a 'visual diary' and a way of keeping track of his developing ideas, the etchings give a new insight into a critical period in Picasso's career. They depict his 17-year-old muse and model, who was also his lover, along with the studio where his sculptures were born.
Tourists renting London apartments can soak up what is said to be one of the very best collections of his etchings, and the only complete set held by a public museum in the UK. A stunning artistic experience is only a tube ride away.
Some 313 sets of Picasso's 100 etchings were printed. Although a handful of museums outside Britain have sets in their collections, this particular set is said to trump them, and has not been shown before.
The 100 etchings are known as the Vollard Suite because they were commissioned by Paris art dealer and print publisher Ambroise Vollard, who gave Picasso a Renoir and a Cezanne painting in exchange for the work.
They were purchased from the Vollard estate by dealer Henri Petiet.
The British Museum's set has been acquired from the heirs of Petiet, following a donation by the Hamish Parker Charitable Trust.
The museum's prints and drawings curator, Stephen Coppel, said he was 'astonished' to receive an email in April from fund manager Hamish Parker telling him that the set of prints would be in the hands of the museum by the end of the year.
The etchings - created between 1930 and 1937 - will go on show at the British Museum next summer.
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