About the exhibition
Following the 80th anniversary of the work’s creation, the Musée national Picasso-Paris in partnership with the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is dedicating an exhibition to the story of Guernica an exceptional painting by Pablo Picasso and probably one of the most famous artworks in the world. The masterpiece can be seen in its permanent location in Madrid since 1992.
Painted in 1937, this monumental artwork is both a synthesis of the plastic research conducted by Picasso for 40 years and a popular icon. Exhibited, replicated all over the world, it has been at the same time an anti-franco, an anti-fascist and a pacific symbol. It is also an abundantly quoted, commented and taken up artwork, theorized by art historians and artists.
Thanks to the exceptional loan of Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía of numerous sketches and post-scriptums of Guernica, the genesis of the artwork is presented from the bullfights to Minotauromachies in the 1930’s until the bursting of the Spanish civil war in Picasso’s life and art. The display reminds us of the artwork’s context, emphasizing on the choc caused by the bombing of Gernika, the Basque village, on April 26th 1937. An important partnership with the National Archives of France offers the possibility of presenting a group of posters that comes from the fund of the International Brigades.
The second part of the exhibition shows the story and the posterity of Guernica whose power nowadays also comes from its visual, political and literary contexts in which it has been exhibited: the Pavilion of the International Exhibition of Art and Techniques of 1937, the importance of men such as Christian Zervos and his review Cahiers d’art or Paul Eluard.
The exhibition also testifies to the role of a federating image for the Spanish anti-Franco artistic circles, that the masterpiece played and of its future as a pacific post-war icon and thus approaches the history of its restitution to Spain in 1981. Lastly, it questions the influence of Guernica on XXth century art to the present day. Large-scale rewritings by several contemporary artists, such as Robert Longo, Art & Language and Damien Deroubaix, will punctuate the course.
The exhibition is organized in partnership with museum Reina Sofia and les Abattoirs.
Curator at Musée national Picasso-Paris
Historian of art
Musée national Picasso-Paris's conferences
Each exhibition at the Musée national Picasso-Paris gives rise to a series of monthly lectures, free and open to everyone in an intimate format. Led by curators, professionals or researchers from a variety of disciplines, they are an opportunity to extend or deepen the themes and reflections addressed in the exhibitions.
Leiris in the Cahier d'art or Paul Eluard whose some of his texts are here reproduced. Finally, the catalogue will present a dozen of works and testimonies of contemporary artists directly inspired by Guernica, testifying even more of the exceptional circulation of this Picasso's masterpiece into the memories.
UNDER THE DIRECTION OF
Émilie Bouvard, curator in charge of the paintings (1938-1973) at the Musée
Géraldine Mercier, art historian
TO BE NOTED
First reference catalogue in French language dedicated to Guernica masterpiece
Unpublished personal archives of the artist
Coedition with the Musée national Picasso-Paris
Part of the exhibition will be travelling to Les Abattoirs, museum of modern and contemporary art of Toulouse in spring 2019
Co-editing Musée national Picasso-Paris/Gallimard edition