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1917. Picasso in Barcelona

October 26th, 2017 - January 28th, 2018

Pablo Picasso. 'Woman with mantilla [Fatma]', Barcelona, June-November 1917. Oil and charcoal on canvas; 116 x 89 cm. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Gift of Pablo Picasso, 1970. MPB 110.004. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Photograph, Gasull Fotografia
© Succession Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2017

With this exhibition we celebrate the last significant period of time spent in Barcelona by Pablo Picasso. Since he definitely set up in Paris in 1904, he had not spent such a long time in the city, and after 1917 he would only come for brief stages in the summers of 1933 and 1934. After having designed the sets and costumes for Parade, he travelled with Serge Diaghilev’s Russian Ballet, living in Barcelona from June to November, 1917, before moving on for a short period of time to Madrid.

Picasso’s arrival in Barcelona that year coincided with an important artistic boom in the city, featuring the Exhibition of French Art at the Palau de Belles Arts, and the exhibition and cultural activity generated at the Galeria Dalmau and the Galeries Laietanes. The presence of Picasso in the city was widely lauded in artistic circles, and the daily press published many articles about him.

This brief period in Barcelona is highly interesting from Picasso’s artistic point of view, as it was a moment of research into new sources and visual resources, where the artist alternated between the more rigorous canons of Cubism and a more classical, realist line of work.

The Museu Picasso conserves all the oil paintings but one done in this period, left in the family home since he chose not to take them out of Spain, as the artist explained in a letter to Gertrude Stein. In a letter from the end of November (undated), he writes“(sic) j’ai eté forcé de laisser tout la bas à cause de que on ne laise pas entrer les tableaux en France.” In another letter from 8 January, 1918, he says: “(sic) je avais pas mal trabaille en Espagne mais ont n’a pas le droit de aporter ici la peinture consideré come objet de luxe”. These letters are preserved in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

The exhibition will feature painting, preparatory drawing for the paintings and independent drawings, seeking to unite the widest possible selection of his production during the months spent in the city. Documentation related to his stay in the city will also be featured, showing his activity as a painter along with his times at ease (going to the bullfights and to the theatre), as well as time spent with friends, acts done in his honour and his participation in events in civil society, amongst others.

Celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Ballet at the Liceu in Barcelona, the Museu Picasso will organize a special event to commemorate the event.

    Practical Information

  • Open to the public: October 26th, 2017 - January 28th, 2018

  • Curated by: Malén Gual

  • Organization and production: Museu Picasso, Barcelona

  • Space: 1st floor of the Palau Finestres


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