Spain And France Present Program To Commemorate 50th Anniversary Of Picasso’s Death


Spain’s Minister for Culture and Sport, Miquel Iceta, and the French Minister for Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, have presented the programme of activities with which Spain and France will commemorate Picasso Year in 2023.

The 1973-2023 Picasso Celebration was announced at the 26th Franco-Spanish Summit on 15 March 2021 in Montauban by the President of the French Republic and the President of the Government of Spain.

The Spanish and French governments have developed a joint programme that will include 42 exhibition projects, two academic congresses and events to be held mainly in Europe and North America.

The Minister for Culture and Sport, Miquel Iceta, has vindicated Picasso’s artistic legacy and the validity of his work. “If there is an artist who defines the 20th century, who represents it with all its cruelty, its violence, its passion, its excesses and its contradictions, it is, without a doubt, Pablo Picasso”, he said.

In the room of the Reina Sofía Museum that houses the Guernica, the minister highlighted the celebration of Picasso Year: “I am sure that it will allow us to again enjoy an art that is always alive; or perhaps for the first time. It will also allow us to look at him from a contemporary perspective, helping us to understand an artist who is still alive 50 years after his death through today’s eyes”.

For her part, the French Minister for Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, considers that “Picasso’s work continues to exert a real fascination throughout the world, abundant, inventive and often radical. For its artistic strength, of course. But also for its political strength. It never ceases to be reread, revisited and reinterpreted. This formidable posterity, this dual culture and this work, which is still so relevant today, is what the 1973-2023 Picasso Celebration aims to explore, question and share with a new generation born in the 21st century, and to enable them to discover and understand it in the light of our times”.

The extensive programme will begin next October, with temporary exhibitions on the figure of the painter that will take place in different museums around the country, and will continue throughout 2023, the year in which the anniversary will be commemorated, when 50 years would have passed since Picasso’s death. He died in the French town of Mougins on 8 April 1973. This date marks the celebration of his work and artistic heritage in Spain and France, as well as internationally.

Forty-two exhibitions so far

Some fifty activities are planned in different countries. Two congresses and 42 exhibitions have been scheduled so far: Sixteen in Spain, twelve in France, seven in the United States, two in Germany, two in Switzerland, one in the Principality of Monaco, one in Romania and one in Belgium.

The official programme in Spain will be held at Casa de Velázquez, Fundació Joan Miró, Fundación MAPFRE, La Casa Encendida, Museo Casa Natal Picasso, Museo de Belas Artes da Coruña, Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Museo Picasso de Málaga, Museu del Disseny de Barcelona, Museu Picasso Barcelona and the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.

In France, exhibitions will be held at the Musée de Montmartre, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Musée de l’Homme-Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, Musée national Picasso-Paris, Musée Picasso (Antibes), Musée Magnelli, Musée de la céramique-Vallauris, Musée Goya; Musée d’art hispanique (Castres); Collection Lambert (Avignon); Musée National Picasso-Paris; Musée du Luxembourg (Paris); Petit Palais and Centre Pompidou.

Two academic conferences

In addition, two academic conferences will also be organised; essential meeting points for scientific exchanges between researchers and experts on the artist’s work and an opportunity to produce a historiographical study of Picasso’s oeuvre.

One of the conferences will take place at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid this autumn, followed by a major international symposium to be held in Paris on 6-8 December 2023 at UNESCO’s head office.

The Madrid conference will open the reflection from the context of the first avant-garde Picasso, while the Paris conference will serve as a meeting point for all the venues and agents involved in the Celebration (museums, research centres and researchers) around the theme ‘Picasso in the 21st century: historiographical and cultural issues’, opening up to the participation of art historians, curators of exhibitions recognised in the field of Picasso, artists, writers and collectors.

A dissemination and educational programme will also be developed in close collaboration with the regional governments of Malaga, A Coruña, Madrid and Barcelona, cities with special links to the artist’s life.

Together, these events will provide a historiographical overview of the approaches that make up the richness of Picasso’s unique oeuvre, while at the same time the artist

is discovered, understood and questioned by a new generation of audiences, including pupils, students, cultural professionals and historians. It is an opportunity to rethink a larger body of work and the artist’s relationship with his contemporaries, from Madrid to Paris, from Manhattan to Bucharest, from Brooklyn to Luxembourg.

The Executive Committee of the National Commission for the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the death of Pablo Picasso, chaired by Carlos Alberdi, is a space for collaboration between ministerial departments, public and private entities, as well as individuals related to Picasso’s work.

Spain-France Bi-national Committee

The French and Spanish governments agreed to work together on a programme of international scope through this bi-national committee that brings together the cultural and diplomatic administrations of the two countries. In close collaboration with the Musée National Picasso-Paris, whose generosity has facilitated the wide dissemination of the artist’s works, the bi-national committee coordinates the joint actions of the French and Spanish Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs.

The official programme of the 1973-2023 Picasso Celebration reflects the validity of the artist’s work, delving into previously unpublished aspects of his oeuvre.

This bi-national committee vindicates the career of an essentially European artist who – from a profound knowledge of the heritage and principles of Europe’s cultural tradition – designed such universal symbols as Guernica, today a collective emblem in the defence of human rights.

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