The Courtauld Gallery is renowned for its compact, highly focused exhibitions, and “Becoming Picasso”is a very successful instance, consisting of work painted in just one year of Picasso’s life: 1901, the year when he had his first major exhibition in Paris, aged only nineteen.

The first half of the Courtauld exhibition consists of the exuberant, brightly colored work that Picasso rapidly created in the spring of that year. It is said that he sometimes finished three canvasses in a day for the show in June and July organized in the gallery of the leading Paris art...

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