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At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: Painting the Century, 16 November 2000

... 1937 portrait of Lee Miller, on the other hand, adds up to a resemblance of a special kind. Roland Penrose wrote that ‘it was an astonishing likeness. An agglomeration of Lee’s qualities of exuberant vitality and vivid beauty put together in such a way that it was undoubtedly her but with none of the conventional attributes of a portrait.’ It ...


Mary Ann Caws: Roland Penrose’s notebooks, 19 October 2006

Visiting Picasso: The Notebooks and Letters of Roland Penrose 
by Elizabeth Cowling.
Thames and Hudson, 408 pp., £25, May 2006, 0 500 51293 0
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... to be accessible to everyone, so that the children could play with it and the dogs piss on it. Roland Penrose – a friend of the Bloomsbury Group, close friend of the French Surrealists and a Surrealist painter himself – was, as the blurb to this collection of his notebooks and letters claims, the ideal commentator on Picasso’s goings-on, a ...

Picasso and Cubism

Gabriel Josipovici, 16 July 1981

Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective 
edited by William Rubin.
Thames and Hudson, 464 pp., £10.95, July 1980, 0 500 23310 1
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Picasso: His Life and Work 
by Roland Penrose.
Granada, 517 pp., £9.99, May 1981, 0 7139 1420 3
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Portrait of Picasso 
by Roland Penrose.
Thames and Hudson, 128 pp., £3.95, June 1981, 0 500 27226 3
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Viva Picasso: A Centennial Celebration, 1881-1981 
by Donald Duncan.
Allen Lane, 152 pp., £12.95, May 1981, 0 7139 1420 3
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Picasso: The Cubist Years, 1907-1916 
by Pierre Daix and Joan Rosselet.
Thames and Hudson, 376 pp., £60, October 1979, 9780500091340
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Picasso’s Guernica: The Labyrinth of Vision 
by Frank Russell.
Thames and Hudson, 334 pp., £12.50, April 1980, 0 500 23298 9
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... Douglas Duncan’s book of photographs – a selection from his previous books brought out, like Penrose’s slightly similar Portrait of Picasso, to coincide with the centenary – catches the tone exactly: ‘Through these extraordinary photographs, introduced in duotone and full colour, and the delightfully candid text, we can feel the vitality of this ...

At the Imperial War Museum

Peter Campbell: Agitprop, 3 January 2002

... new kind of inhumanity. Erotic distortion and agonised screams could draw on the same topologies. Roland Penrose, who persuaded Picasso that Guernica should tour Britain raising funds for the Republican cause, owned his Weeping Woman. It is included here – not strictly a war picture, but, like Guernica, a painting which both hurts and demands to be ...


Anne Hollander: Wild Lee Miller, 20 July 2006

Lee Miller 
by Carolyn Burke.
Bloomsbury, 426 pp., £12.99, March 2006, 0 7475 8793 0
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... of little flags.In the summer of 1937 she escaped back to Paris, where Max Ernst introduced her to Roland Penrose, a wealthy English artist and collector who worshipped Picasso and frequented the free-loving Surrealists, whose work he had helped launch in England. He had seen Man Ray’s erotic images of Lee Miller and immediately lost his heart to her ...

At Tate Liverpool

Marina Warner: Surrealism in Egypt, 8 March 2018

... in the desert for experiments with form and perspective and connected the scene in Cairo with Roland Penrose, the champion of British Surrealists (some letters to him, not always polite about her Cairo friends, are included in the show – she was having a love affair with him and they would later marry). The movement was global in one sense, but the ...

Madder Men

Hal Foster: Richard Hamilton on Richard Hamilton, 24 October 2019

Richard Hamilton: Introspective 
by Phillip Spectre.
König, 408 pp., £49, September 2019, 978 3 88375 695 0
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... by sharing his privileged status with charm and good humour’. Henderson introduced Hamilton to Roland Penrose and Lee Miller, the power couple who both supported the IG and exposed Hamilton to Duchamp – most importantly, to The Green Box, the book of notes detailing the making of The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915-23), a.k.a. The ...

At the Palazzo Venier

Nicholas Penny: Peggy Guggenheim’s Eye, 9 May 2002

Peggy Guggenheim: The Life of an Art Addict 
by Anton Gill.
HarperCollins, 506 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 00 257078 5
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... gay little Flamand, quite vulgar, but really very nice and warm’) and about the collector Roland Penrose, all of whom were close associates and with all of whom Guggenheim had affairs, but he doesn’t bring out quite how much the breezily condescending tone that Guggenheim adopts in describing her relations with them conceals the fact that they ...

Don’t teach me

Gillian Darley: Ernö Goldfinger, 1 April 2004

Ernö Goldfinger: The Life of an Architect 
by Nigel Warburton.
Routledge, 197 pp., £30, November 2003, 0 415 25853 7
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... secretary, Henry Brooke, was fierce. Goldfinger – assisted by such influential neighbours as Roland Penrose, Flora Robson and Julian Huxley – successfully defended his design, citing its kinship to the formal articulation and clarity of the Georgian terrace. ‘Only the Esquimeaux and Zulus,’ he said, ‘build anything but rectangular ...

Damsons and Custard

Paul Laity: Documentary cinema’s unsung poet, 3 March 2005

Humphrey Jennings 
by Kevin Jackson.
Picador, 448 pp., £30, October 2004, 0 330 35438 8
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... of the methods of Mass-Observation less as sociology than as a kind of poetry, one which, in Roland Penrose’s words, paid particular attention to ‘what was implied by the expression: “Poetry ought to be made by all.”’ Mass-Observation was also political: an attempt, characteristic of the decade, to narrow what Julian Trevelyan, a fellow ...

Picasso and the Fall of Europe

T.J. Clark, 2 June 2016

... pilotis and walkways, which half-hide the painting till the spectator is almost on top of it. Roland Penrose, by far the most sympathetic of the mural’s historians, may be right when he says of the viewer’s approach: his movement round these obstacles seems to give movement to the composition itself, in particular to the sinister black shape near ...

False Moderacy

T.J. Clark: Picasso and Modern British Art, 22 March 2012

Picasso and Modern British Art 
Tate Britain, 15 February 2012 to 15 July 2012Show More
Mondrian Nicholson: In Parallel 
Courtauld Gallery, 16 February 2012 to 20 May 2012Show More
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... most wonderful and impenetrable of Picasso’s paintings, the Three Dancers of 1925. Picasso told Roland Penrose that he thought Three Dancers was better than Guernica. The painting has been scrupulously cleaned for the occasion – its brushwork is a baffling palimpsest – and lit with just the right measure of steely half-gloom. (Of course the light ...

Put a fist through it

Harriet Baker: The Hampstead Modernists, 8 October 2020

Circles and Squares: The Lives and Art of the Hampstead Modernists 
by Caroline Maclean.
Bloomsbury, 296 pp., £30, April, 978 1 4088 8969 5
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The See-Through House: My Father in Full Colour 
by Shelley Klein.
Chatto, 271 pp., £16.99, April, 978 1 78474 310 9
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... work’, and after the war he founded the Institute of Contemporary Arts. In 1936 he joined Roland Penrose on the organising committee for the landmark Surrealist exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries, which included Man Ray’s dreamy Lovers, showing Lee Miller’s lips floating above green hills, Meret Oppenheim’s fur-covered teacup and ...

‘Someone you had to be a bit careful with’

David Sylvester: Gallery Rogues, 30 March 2000

Groovy Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Fraser 
by Harriet Vyner.
Faber, 317 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 571 19627 6
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... idea whether he recognised that I’d spoken in good faith. When the case came to court, I found Roland Penrose and Bryan Robertson there as potential expert witnesses. The only one of us to be called was Robertson. He proceeded to give a speech which was stunning in its authority and lucidity, a quiet, patient, courteous, relentless demolition of ...

Herberts & Herbertinas

Rosemary Hill: Steven Runciman, 20 October 2016

Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman 
by Minoo Dinshaw.
Penguin, 767 pp., £30, September 2016, 978 0 241 00493 7
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... his Oresteia. ‘Glamour’ was the quality Runciman said he admired most and Rylands embodied it. Roland Penrose, one of Rylands’s many lovers, remembered him as ‘a completely sympathetic person’, others recalled a ruthless heart-breaker. Virginia Woolf, for whom he worked at the Hogarth Press, sketched him in her diary as a faintly preposterous ...

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