Picasso's Temptation of St Anthony gifted to Walker Art Gallery

Second major work from Lucian Freud's collection comes via tax break scheme

Written by  The Confidentials | Follow @ | Wednesday, 8 July 2015 14:23

A Pablo Picasso drawing owned by the artist Lucian Freud has passed into the hands of Liverpool's Walker Art Gallery.

The drawing, Study for Temptation of St Anthony, depicts the sensual temptation which St Anthony the Great is said to have faced during his time in the Egyptian desert. The erotic story fascinated Picasso early in his career and here it is given a "typical Picasso twist with the introduction of a Harlequin".

It is unveiled to the public  tomorrow (July 9) as part of a three month display, Picasso on Paper.

Formerly owned by painter and collector Lucian Freud, who died in 2011,, the drawing was gifted to National Museums Liverpool by Arts Council England as part of the Acceptance in Lieu scheme which allows Inheritance Tax debts to be written off in exchange for objects of national importance

Study for Temptation of St Anthony depicts the sensual temptation which St Anthony the Great is believed to have faced during his time in the Egyptian desertStudy for Temptation of St Anthony depicts the sensual temptation which St Anthony the Great is believed to have faced during his time in the Egyptian desert

The Picasso on Paper show will feature another drawing by the artist, Pau Cucurny with a dog (1903), acquired by National Museums Liverpool in 2000, along with a gouache watercolour by Spanish artist Enrique Garrán (?1899-1962), who was greatly influenced by Picasso’s cubist style.

Xanthe Brooke, curator of European Fine Art at National Museums Liverpool, said: “Picasso is without doubt one of the most significant artists of the 20th century and we’re very grateful to Arts Council England for allocating the drawing to us. It is a rare example of a religious theme by Picasso and shows him toying with the early cubist style he helped to create.

“It is also fascinating to note that the drawing once hung in the home of Lucian Freud, whose work is also on show at the gallery. In fact, the frame that the drawing will be presented in here is the frame in which Freud displayed it, after receiving the drawing as a gift from his friend, the Picasso expert Sir John Richardson.”

The drawing is the second major work from Lucian Freud’s collection that the Walker Art Gallery has acquired through the Arts Council scheme. In 2013, it received Degas’ sculpture The Masseuse.