PRODUCTION NOTES / John Golding on assembling the Picasso exhibition at the Tate Gallery

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The Independent Culture
The Picasso exhibition represents four years of awful hard work by myself and Lizzie Cowling, my co-curator. There are innumerable Picasso exhibitions - many of which don't add much to the picture we have of him - and collectors are approached so often that their instinct is to say 'no'.

'We persuaded them by travelling with the exhibition in our briefcases in the form of photos, and showing people where their work would stand in terms of sequences of images. The theme interested people and we got several pieces that are officially banned from travelling. I was particularly pleased to get a very important painting from Prague, Nude with Crossed Legs (1906) (pictured right); they initially refused it, saying it couldn't travel, but they made an exception.

'Inevitably there were works we couldn't get. Often they belonged to elderly collectors who wanted to keep the work with them. And we also lost a couple of works that were just too fragile to travel, in particular a wonderful construction in Dusseldorf of a violin made of cardboard and paper.

'The layout of the exhibition sort of fell into place because Picasso's great periods of sculpture came in pockets. The theme - to show the relationship between sculpture and painting - also seemed to fall into place. We each made individual lists of what we wanted and, when we compared them, they were virtually identical.

'I think the juxtaposition works throughout, but that of the two great Studio paintings of 1927 and 1928 / 29 with the enormous metal constructions I think works miraculously well. With the sculptural heads of 1931 we've put up a painting from 1921 just to show how the painting is a surrogate sculpture and anticipated the sculpture by 10 years. The theme of juxtaposing sculpture and painting is original, but once we had it, it seemed amazing it hadn't been done before.'

(Photograph omitted)