The voice of the Catalan Picasso

The artist, who died half a century ago, will be the protagonist of Barcelona’s cultural programme in 2023

Barcelona is a Picasso city and Barcelona has to breathe Picasso throughout 2023”, stated Emmanuel Guigon, the director of the only Picasso Museum in the world that the artist himself created “as another work of his own”. It is the Barcelona museum that this year celebrates two important anniversaries. The 50th anniversary of Picasso’s death, with an official programme organised by the Spanish and French governments, and the 60th since the home of his legacy was inaugurated in three historic Gothic buildings on Carrer Montcada.

In this official programme for the fiftieth anniversary of the creator’s demise on 8 April 1973, the Barcelona museum is holding two highly ambitious exhibitions. The first, now open, is a magnificent presentation of the collection owned by art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, to whom Picasso and the other giants of Cubism owe almost everything. Right now, it is the best exhibition in Barcelona.

A year that has started so well will not end badly, either. From 19 October to 25 February 2024, a simultaneous double exhibition will explore the relationship between Picasso and Miró (here we can add one more anniversary: the 40th since the death of the latter artist) in their respective museums. Much is being said about this project, but little about its details and the works that will be exhibited. Its promoters ask for a little more patience. At an event for the press, Guigon yesterday promised that the loan list will be “impressive.”

One of the initiatives that will emerge from the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the museum’s inauguration, which will be celebrated on March 9, is a book following the steps taken by the artist since he arrived in Barcelona with his family in 1895, at the age of thirteen. Picasso Barcelona. A cartography, by Claustre Rafart, is an invitation to wander through the places of the city that marked Picasso’s life. Literally, because the City Council will install plaques along the route.

Former curator of the Picasso Museum Claustre Rafart will take part in a line of projects, promoted by various agents, that are equally necessary in getting to know more about the Catalan Picasso. It is the Picasso that crossed Barcelona’s borders and revolutionised art during his stays in Horta de Sant Joan, Gósol and Cadaqués. The photographer Bernard Plossu, winner of the state photography award in France, has put together a report on these Catalan landscapes that he toured, and this will take the form of a publication.

Aside from the museum, numerous institutions have scheduled activities in this Year of Picasso: the Design Museum will dedicate an exhibition to the ceramics that inspired the artist; the Filmoteca has digitised five films that deal with the artist’s work; and the College of Architects will exhibit the five murals that Picasso conceived for the newly building that houses it in Plaça Nova.

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