Following the 80th anniversary of the works 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 1930s until the bursting of the Spanish civil war in Picassos life and art. The display reminds us of the artworks 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 dart 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.