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.