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Pablo Picasso and the publishers Gustavo Gili: WORK AND


From November 23th, 2018 to March 31st, 2019

'Edouard Pignon, Anna M. Torra, Pablo Picasso i sra Lacourière al restaurant La Colombe'. Sant Paul de Vance, 11/10/1958. Fotografia, autoria desconeguda. Fotografia amb sals de plata [intevinguda], 13 x18 cm
Fons Gustau Gili i Anna M. Torra. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. FGG/FOT/1/57 © Successió Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2018

The Museu Picasso announces the first public presentation of the Gustau Gili and Anna Maria Torra Archive, acquired by the museum.

The exhibition will show for the first time the body of works making up the archive, some of which have never before been seen by the general public.

The exhibition places special emphasis on the relationship between Pablo Picasso and the publishers Gustavo Gili, an affinity with Barcelona as its setting.

The Gustau Gili and Anna Maria Torra Archive and the Documentary Archive of Editorial Gustavo Gili

In 2014 the Museu Picasso acquired this archive, made up of a body of works and documents which highlight the painter’s relationship with this Barcelona publisher. This historical archive is of great importance, as it provides us with essential information on the relationship between Picasso and Barcelona, especially during the second half of the 20th century, the final decades of the artist’s life. The works and documents found here testify to the work of the artist and the editors, as well as confirming the friendship between the two couples, Pablo and Jacqueline with Gustau and Anna.

Over the past few years the Museu Picasso has properly documented this archive, concerning itself with the conservation of the new artistic material and studying its content. It is highly useful in explaining Picasso’s creative processes, his printmaking (a strong point of the museum) and the valuable work carried out by Gustavo Gili publishing house, which is now ready for public presentation.

The exhibition highlights Pablo Picasso’s relationship with two generations of publishers at Gustavo Gili, with the city of Barcelona as the backdrop. The show details two stages in this relationship. The first began in the decade of the 1920s, when the founder of the publishing house, Gustavo Gili Roig, made contact with the artist with the idea of initiating a new line of publications for bibliophiles called La Cometa. Gili Roig put himself at the helm of this new adventure in publishing for book lovers, something that had not been seen in Spain until that time. With him, two important men were brought into the project: the writer and journalist Agustí Calvet, known as “Gaziel”, and the book binder Ermengol Alsina Munné.

  • Professional relationship with Picasso

    The professional relationship between publishers Gustavo Gili and Pablo Picasso began with the first commission they made to him, involving the illustration of the treatise by José Delgado, alias “Pepe Illo” (or “Hillo”), La Tauromaquia o Arte de torear [Tauromachy, or the Art of Bullfighting]. At the beginning of the 1930s, and for no apparent reason, the project was halted, even though the artist had already done a series of prints for the project.

    The second stage began in 1956, when the son of the founder, Gustavo Gili Esteve, came into contact with Picasso to revive the project initiated by his father. This was the beginning of a long and fruitful professional bond, which would soon become a great friendship as well.

    A variety of publishing projects were developed during this new period. In the production of books for modern bibliophiles, a highlight was the illustration of three works: La Tauromaquia o Arte de torear de Pepe Hillo (Illo) (1959), featuring a set of sugar-lift aquatints, which led to one of his most collaborative illustrated books, Picasso il·lustrador [Picasso Illustrator]; and El Entierro del Conde de Orgaz [The Burial of the Count of Orgaz] (1969), where Picasso created images to accompany his own text.

    Personal relationship with Picasso

    Little by little, a truly loyal friendship was forged between Picasso and his wife Jacqueline Roque, and Gustavo Gili Esteve and his wife Anna Maria Torra Amat. The relationship was particularly bonded by the role played by the two women.

    This exhibition presents for the first time an overall perspective of the Gustau Gili and Anna Maria Torra Archive, acquired by the museum in 2014, as well as a selection from the documentary material proceeding from the Editorial Gustavo Gili Donation of that same year. It is complemented by works from national and foreign museums and archives, along with works from private collections.

    The relationship between Picasso and the Gili family had Barcelona as its setting, a city with an important tradition in publishing. As is widely known, Picasso had lived in the city and would forever be united to it through family and friends. The exhibition is thus structured around this indivisible triangle: Picasso-Gili-Barcelona.

    Practical Information

  • Open to the public:
    November 23th, 2018 - March 31st, 2019

  • Curator:
    Claustre Rafart, curator of the Museu Picasso

  • Organization and production:
    Museu Picasso, Barcelona

  • Space:
    Palau Finestres

  • Opening times and admission »
    (Included in the ticket to the permanent collection)

  • Press Dossier:
    Contact with: museupicasso_premsa@bcn.cat

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