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Picasso's Favorites In Historic ShowAt Madrid's Reina Sofia Museum



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Picasso’s Favorites In Historic Show

At Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum


AVV 2-12 #728736

By Ciaran Giles

Associated Press Writer

MADRID, SPAIN (AP) — They were Picasso’s own favorites and this is the first time — and possibly the last — they will leave Paris together.

Making the most of refurbishing work at the Picasso Museum in Paris, Madrid’s Reina Sofia art museum has brought together what are considered to be the Spanish artist’s own favorites and put them alongside the monumental “Guernica” in a breathtaking 400-piece show to run until May 5.

“It’s a show of Picasso’s Picassos,” said new Reina Sofia director Manuel Borja-Villel. “They’re the Picassos he always kept himself.”

In return, Spain has agreed to pay a whopping $5.1 million to help fund the restoration work in the Paris Picasso Museum, which has been partly closed since December. The restoration is expected to cost some $35 million.

But for the Reina Sofia director, the price was worth it.

“It’s a unique opportunity,” he said. “It’s never been done before, and it probably won’t be done again.”

The show includes some 350 of the most-prized works from the Paris museum, including many pieces rarely put on display even in the French capital, according to Borja-Villel. A reduced version of the show will go to Australia, Canada, Finland, Japan, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

“I have a feeling that this experience, so necessary, will never be repeated,” said show curator and director of the French museum, Ana Baldassari. “For that reason, we can state that this is a historic moment.”

The Madrid exposition is split chronologically into four sections, with plenty of samples of the literally tens of thousands of paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings and ceramics Picasso produced between the end of the Nineteenth Century and his death in 1973.

“The Twentieth Century was Picasso, and after him it was necessary to start painting from zero again,” Borja-Villel said.

Pablo Picasso, considered the father of modern art, was born in 1881 in Malaga, southern Spain, but spent most of his life in France. The 1936–39 Spanish Civil War and the following nearly four decades of dictatorship kept him from returning to his native country.

Paintings such as the “The Death of Casagemas,” the blue “Self Portrait” and “La Celestina” dominate the first section covering Picasso’s genesis period of 1895–1924. The surrealist second section, spanning 1925 to 1935, features the “The Kiss,” “The Artist and His Model” and “The Acrobat.”

The show’s axis is the Reina Sofia’s emblematic, antiwar opus, “Guernica” and its preparatory works. The period of 1935–51, in which Picasso expresses his pacifist political leanings, also includes “A Woman Crying” and “Massacre in Korea.”

A final section covers Picasso’s postwar period, 1947–72, with the artist exhibiting a freer and more-relaxed style producing such delights as “Jacqueline With Crossed Hands” and “Dejeuners sur L’herbe, After Manet.”

“If anyone wants to see what Picasso kept for himself, what he loved most, what he felt about his art, what painting meant for him, I think this is the show to see,” Borja-Villel said.

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