Child with a Dove, 1901
August 18, 2012, source: Arts Council England
The painting dates from the autumn of 1901. It is a key work within the development of Picasso’s art, and marks a transition into the artist’s celebrated Blue Period – a period of sombre works painted almost solely in shades of blue and blue-green, sparingly warmed by colour. Around this time, Picasso moved away from the broadly Impressionistic style he had been practising, simplifying his compositions and flattening the perspective.
"Child with a Dove" is one of the earliest and most important works by Picasso to enter a British collection. There are just five early oil paintings by Picasso in UK public permanent collections and "Child with a Dove" fills an important gap between Picasso’s more derivative Impressionistic works and the slightly later Blue Period works. The painting was acquired in 1924 by Mrs R. A. Workman, who then sold the work several years later to Samuel Courtauld, one of the most important art collectors in Britain and co-founder of the Courtauld Institute of Art. On his death in 1947 Samuel Courtauld bequeathed the painting to Lady Aberconway.
The Minister’s ruling follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, administered by Arts Council England. The Committee recommended that the export decision be deferred on the grounds that the painting was so closely connected with our history and national life that its departure would be a misfortune; that it was of outstanding aesthetic importance; and that it was of outstanding significance for the study of Picasso’s early works and artistic development, and British collecting of European avant-garde in the first decades of the 20th century.