New museum exhibition features four of 20th century’s greatest artists

Prints by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Henri Matisse and Andy Warhol – four of the 20th century’s greatest artists – will go on display at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery from Saturday in an exhibition from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A).

Modern Masters in Print: Matisse, Picasso, Dalí and Warhol is the latest in a series of high profile art exhibitions at the city centre venue.

Drawn from the V&A’s outstanding collections of prints, posters and artists’ books, the exhibition highlights the different ways each artist used printmaking to express themselves and develop their artistic practice.

For Matisse and Picasso, printmaking was one of many art forms they used, and one which enabled them 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.

These modern masters had a profound influence in the art world and beyond – leaving a legacy that we still come across today. All four were also accomplished printmakers and used the medium to reach a wider audience.

Together, they spanned a 75-year period that saw the birth of the modern age. Their work represents one of the most creative and diverse periods of printmaking in the history of western art.

“The chance to host an exhibition featuring these artistic giants is very exciting for us and for Plymouth,” said head of arts and heritage Nicola Moyle. “Matisse, Picasso, Dali and Warhol took printmaking and re-invented it as a new and very vital way of expression.

“Each of them had a different yet highly distinctive approach to printmaking – but they all used it as a way to drive forward the development of their work as well as create some real masterpieces. `Modern Masters’ is a fabulous opportunity for our visitors to see both well-known and less familiar works by these four outstanding talents.”

Modern Masters in Print: Matisse, Picasso, Dali and Warhol will run from Saturday 24 May to Saturday 23 August. Exhibition opening hours are 10am to 5.30pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am to 5pm on Saturdays. Admission is free.

The exhibition will also be open from 10am to 5pm on Sunday 25 May as part of a special launch weekend. This will include a guided tour from 1pm to 1.45pm on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 May. Family-friendly creative activities led by a guest illustrator will also take place from 11am to 12.30pm and 2.30pm to 4pm on both days.

In addition, lunchtime talks connected to the exhibition (3, 10 and 24 June and 15 July), Art Bite tours (9 and 23 July) plus a series of family-friendly holiday drop-ins (6 and 13 August) and workshops (7 and 14 August) will be on offer while the exhibition is on display.