Picasso Museum of Barcelona

Barcelona City Council

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  • Forgetting Velázquez. Las Meninas

    • Date From 16 May to 28 September 2008
    • This exhibition is a tribute to this essential part of our collection, exploring Picasso’s links with the tradition of Spanish painting, and with Velázquez in particular, while proposing new readings of the series Las Meninas, thanks in part to the numerous subsequent interpretations and contributions made by various contemporary artists.

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      Between August and December 1957, in his studio at La Californie, Cannes, Picasso embarked on a comprehensive analysis of Las Meninas by Velázquez in line with the interpretations of works by great artists —Manet, Courbet, Poussin, Delacroix, El Greco, Cranach…— that he made from the end of World War II on.

      In 1968 the artist donated this entire series of fifty-eight oil paintings, consisting of forty-four interpretations of the Velázquez picture, nine Pigeons, three landscapes and two free interpretations, to the Museu Picasso in Barcelona.

      Picasso’s own account of his initial attitude when he created this series was recorded by Jaume Sabartés in his book L’Atelier de Picasso, published in 1952: 'If anyone were to copy Las Meninas in complete good faith, and for example got to a certain point – and if I were the copier – would say to myself, and if I just put this a little more to the right or to the left?. I would try to do it in my own way, forgetting about Velázquez”.

      So it is not only a matter of going back into the past and highlighting Picasso’s continuities and breaks with tradition, but also of exploring the survival of the motif of Las Meninas through the history of art to the present, bringing together the many contemporary interpretations of it that engage in a dialogue not only with the work by Velázquez but also and very evidently with the work created by Picasso. This is, then, an exhibition that invites the visitor to rediscover the Museum’s collection and its permanent exhibition in the light of this new contextualization.

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  • Picasso and his collection

    • Date 20/12/07 to 30/03/08
    • Pablo Picasso’s personal collection of art works. Presenting over one hundred works - including some forty paintings by Renoir, Cézanne, Rousseau, Braque, Matisse and others -, this range of art, gathered together over a whole lifetime paints, in its own way, an intimate portrait of Picasso, the man.

      The nature of this collection, however, is unique and personal. Picasso did not possess the typical qualities, often all consuming and accumulative, of a standard art collector. Above all, this collection is not the fruit of a deliberate or pre-established project. Art works were added to the mess of his successive art studios, thrown on the floor haphazardly, framed or unframed, in the midst of his own paintings, or hung on the wall in a disorderly fashion without there ever existing the intention of putting any of them on show to the general public. In some ways, this collection forms the “backgrounds” to his own art studios.

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      « My friends» : is the way in which Picasso referred to his collection. « After all, why shouldn’t one inherit from their friends?», he confessed one day to his dealer, Kahnweiler. « In essence, what is a painter? A collector who wants to make a collection by doing paintings that he likes by others»

      Bernadac, Marie-Laure, Michael, Androula, Picasso, propos sur l’art, París, Gallimard, 1998

      Creation happens before possession. With his collection, Picasso maintained a relationship of creator to creators (past or present).

      Picasso wanted to donate this collection to the French State on condition that it was kept intact. When he died, his heirs respected his will. The Picasso Museum in Paris is home to the essential parts of this collection, added to by other works that were donated later by heirs.

      Pablo Picasso’s personal collection was exhibited in Munich and in Paris in 1998 and 1999 and this is the first time it can be seen in our country. As a museum devoted to the artist, nothing has more sense than showing together with the permanent collection of the Museu Picasso in Barcelona, the collection of works by other artists that Picasso kept all his life.

    • Exhibition Website