Picasso Museum of Barcelona

Barcelona City Council

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  • Picasso, guerra i pau

    • Date 25/5/26 to 9/2004
    • The aim of the exhibition is to show those moments when the artist uses his work to echo his horror at the ravages of war. This horror was especially strong during the Spanish Civil War, when he was commissioned by the government of the Republic to paint the Guernica for the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris International Exhibition in 1937. With all the works that revolve around it, it has become a symbol of human suffering.

    • Display information

      However, from Guernica on, a new symbolism in human representation appears in his work, particularly in his characterization of Maria-Thérèse Walter and Dora Maar, protagonists in Picasso's life and work during these years, and who assume opposing identities, very close to the artist's attitudes towards war and peace.

      During the Second World War, between 1943 and 1944, Picasso painted a series of still lifes in which he uses skulls to exorcise the sadness and pessimism of the war years, marked by the deaths of friends and relatives and the emergence of a cruel, violent world in which the premises he knew and understood were crumbling.

      In the fifty or so drawings he did for the sculpture L'homme au mouton, an embodiment of the Christian Good Shepherd, evocative of the Mediterranean tradition, the humanism of his thoughts on the power of art over terror refers us to the context of war, in which the lamb is the incarnation of the victim and the shepherd the champion of peace and tolerance.

      Two years later, in the summer of 1946, after the war had ended, he moved in with Françoise Gilot in Antibes and started on a new series of still lifes in which emblematic Mediterranean animals and birds radiate a new happiness and peace, endowing these works with an element of magic. The photographer Michel Sima gave him an owl, symbol of Antibes and of the goddess Pallas Athene. He included it in a number of the still lifes, in which it appears perched on a chair. This was, then, one of the elements which, like Pallas Athene herself, united wisdom and the victory of peace over war.

      He joined the French Communist Party in October 1944 as part of his fierce defence of freedom and peace, which is expressed in his work at the time and reached its height with his participation in the Peace Conferences in Wroclaw in 1948, in Paris in 1949 and in London in 1950. The doves in his drawings and lithographs became an emblem of world peace.

      Apart from the works for the Peace Conferences, in 1945 he started on the large panels War and Peace, which were installed in 1954 in a chapel in Vallauris after extensive preparatory work.

  • Torres García

    • Date 25/11/2003 to 11/4/2004
    • Joaquim Torres-García neix a Montevideo el 1874.
    • Display information

      Joaquín Torres-García was born in Montevideo in 1874. In 1891, at the age of seventeen he settled with his family in Mataró. In the autumn of 1892 the Torres-García family moved to Barcelona and Joaquín enrolled for the courses given at the Llotja School of Fine Arts, where he met Mir, Sunyer, Canals and Nonell, the pioneers of Catalan art in the early 20th century. The artistic and intellectual activity in Barcelona in those years encouraged the young artist, who taught himself and gained confidence through his friendship with Josep Pijoan, Eduardo Marquina and Luis de Zulueta. He soon became a key figure of Noucentisme, not only because of his evolution as an artist, but also for his theoretical contributions. He propounded a Catalan Mediterraneanism, inspired in the art of Puvis de Chavannes, which filters a renewing vision of classical tradition based on an aesthetic, balanced ideal of modernity.

      After 1917 his painting evolved towards an individual version of avantgarde art, which was expressed not only visually but also through writings and manifestos such as Art-Evolució. And so, from 1917 to 1922, first in Barcelona and then in New York –where he lived from 1920 to 1922– he joined the Vibrationism proposed by Rafael Barradas. In those same years, fascinated by children’s art, he began to produce toys, which allowed him to experiment with new visual solutions. His “transformable toys” were shown for the first time at Galeries Dalmau in Barcelona in 1918, and were soon sold in the United States, Italy and France.

      He settled in Paris in 1926 and embarked on a transition period in which he began to paint a series of pictures with figures in primitive style. From 1929 he gradually freed himself from the archaism of those first Parisian paintings and began to work on cityscapes.

      He met Mondrian, Van Doesburg, Arp, Taeuber-Arp, Hélion and Gorin, among others. In 1930, with Michel Seuphor, he founded the Cercle et Carré group, which gave rise to the journal of the same name, which brought together all the international trends in abstract art.

      Fed by the principles of the pure abstraction of neo-Plasticism and archaic, pre-Colombian art, he developed a personal style which is called Constructivism or Constructive Universalism and proposes a new universal language to understand the world. From 1931, his pictures display an orthogonal structure with inserted signs, schema of real objects or images from the collective memory.

      In 1934, after a forty-three year absence, he returned to Montevideo, where he would live until his death in 1949. He became a kind of prophet of modernity in South America. He founded the journal Círculo y Cuadrado (the second period of Cercle et Carré) and created the Association of Constructive Art (1935) and the Workshop (1942), thus confirming his vocation as an educator. His Constructive Universalism evolved towards an affirmation of a more fluid geometry and the predominance of American Indian signs. His painting became more expressive, even lyrical. In short, he aspired to a monumental art which, after the manner of pre-Colombian art, is integrated into architecture.