All Too Human: Landmark exhibition at Tate Britain celebrates a century of painting life

Jenny Saville (b.1970) Reverse 2002-3 Oil paint on canvas, 2134 x 2438 mm © Jenny Saville. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

Capturing the sensuous, immediate and intense experience of life in paint, All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life is a landmark exhibition at Tate Britain that celebrates the painters in Britain who strove to represent humans, their relationships and surroundings in the most intimate of ways, with Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon at its heart. It reveals how their art captures personal and immediate experiences and events, distilling raw sensations through their use of paint, as Freud said: "I want the paint to work as flesh does".

Bringing together major works by Walter Sickert, Stanley Spencer, Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach, R.B. Kitaj, Leon Kossoff, Paula Rego, Jenny Saville, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and many others, this exhibition makes poignant connections across generations of artists and tells an expanded story of figurative painting in the 20th century and into the 21st century.

The show, which launches at Tate Britain tomorrow (28 February) and runs until 27 August 2018, also sheds light on the role of women artists in the traditionally male-dominated field of figurative painting. Paula Rego explores the condition of women in society and the roles they play over the course of their lives, while always referring to autobiographical events, as in The Family 1988. Meanwhile, a younger generation of painters is also celebrated, those who pursue the tangible reality of life in their work.

All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life is curated at Tate Britain by Elena Crippa, curator, Modern and Contemporary British Art, and Laura Castagnini, assistant curator. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and a programme of talks and events in the gallery. The exhibition will tour to the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest later in 2018.

Francis Bacon (1909-1992) Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud 1964 Oil paint on canvas, 1980 x 1476 mm The Lewis Collection © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS, London. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.

Francis Bacon (1909-1992) Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud 1964 Oil paint on canvas, 1980 x 1476 mm The Lewis Collection © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS, London. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.

Paula Rego (b.1935) The Family 1988 Acrylic paint on canvas backed paper, 2134 x 2134 mm Marlborough International Fine Art © Paula Rego

Paula Rego (b.1935) The Family 1988 Acrylic paint on canvas backed paper, 2134 x 2134 mm Marlborough International Fine Art © Paula Rego

Lucian Freud (1922-2011) Girl with a White Dog 1950-1 Oil paint on canvas, 762 x 1016 mm © Tate

Lucian Freud (1922-2011) Girl with a White Dog 1950-1 Oil paint on canvas, 762 x 1016 mm © Tate

Euan Uglow 1932-2000 Georgia 1973 Oil paint on canvas 838 x 1118 mm British Council Collection  © The Estate of Euan Uglow

Euan Uglow 1932-2000 Georgia 1973 Oil paint on canvas 838 x 1118 mm British Council Collection © The Estate of Euan Uglow