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Pablo Picasso 1936: Traces of an exhibition at Museu Picasso in Barcelona
A woman visits an exhibition, titled Picasso 1936, at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Spain. EPA/TONI GARRIGA.

BARCELONA.- Within the lines of actuation resulting from the creation of its new Knowledge and Research Centre, the Museu Picasso presents the exhibition Picasso 1936. Traces of an Exhibition.

The basis of the show is the acquisition by the Museum during 2009 and 2010 of a fonds of original documents relating to the organization of the Picasso Exhibition at the Sala Esteva in Barcelona in January 1936. This fonds was in the possession of Claudio Hoyos, grandson of one of the gallery owners. The present exhibition is the result of research and interpretation of this documentary fonds, which, although partial, contains information crucial to understanding Picasso’s relationship with Barcelona and, by extension, Spain.

With this project the Museum affirms the value of the written document in the appreciation of artistic processes by putting together a documentary exhibition that recreates the discourse of the archive. As for the presentation, of special note here is the Museum’s commitment to new technologies in showing the results of research into this fonds, which made it possible to identify and assess the works by Picasso in the 1936 exhibition, to describe the process of organizing the exhibition and the importance of the human factor, and the critical reception of Picasso’s art in Spain. One key section of the show is devoted to the complex network of relationships between a number of Spanish and French intellectuals and artists (Josep Lluís Sert, Joan Miró, J.V. Foix, Juli Gonzàlez, Ramón Gómez de la Serna, André Breton, Tristan Tzara, Man Ray and Paul Éluard, among others) that made possible the historic Picasso exhibition in Barcelona, which was later seen in Bilbao and Madrid.

Set out in three rooms of the permanent collection, the exhibition comprises a total of fifty-nine documentary units from the Museum’s fonds: photographs, magazines and newspaper articles. Of particular interest is the set of eleven gramophone discs, made in Paris in 1935 and played at the opening of the exhibition so that the people present could hear the recorded speeches of Jaume Sabartés, Juli Gonzàlez, Luis Fernández and Salvador Dalí.

The 1936 Picasso Exhibition
Initially conceived by ADLAN (Amics de l’Art Nou or Friends of the New Art) in 1935, the Picasso exhibition was presented in three Spanish cities during the first three months of 1936, first in Barcelona, then in Bilbao and finally in Madrid. There were also unsuccessful attempts to take the show to Malaga and Tenerife. The operation was coordinated from Paris by Luis Fernández, with the help of the Galerie Pierre, where all of the selected works were brought together to be approved by Picasso. The show comprised a total of 25 works made between 1908 and 1935 (paintings, watercolours, pastels and papiers collés), all of them loaned by Picasso and by private individuals from the artist’s French circle such as Maurice Raynal, Christian Zervos, Marie Cuttoli and Tristan Tzara, among others.

The exhibition opened at the Sala Esteva in Barcelona at 10 p.m. on Monday, 13 January and closed on 30 November. Jaume Sabartés made the opening remarks and there were gramophone recordings of speeches by Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Juli Gonzàlez and Luis Fernández, which were broadcast by Radio Barcelona and a French radio station. In parallel with the exhibition, the French poet Paul Éluard gave a number of talks and readings of unpublished poems by Picasso and of texts especially written for Barcelona by André Breton, leader of French Surrealism, and by Christian Zervos, the editor of the magazine Cahiers d’Art (the Ateneu, the Llibreria Catalònia bookshop). On 19 February 1936, the exhibition opened at the Arte gallery in Bilbao, where it was coordinated by Lluís Carreras Macaya. Finally, from 7 to 25 March of that year the show was presented at the Centro de la Construcción in Madrid. On 4 February Paul Éluard gave a lecture at the Institut Français in Madrid, where he was introduced by Ramón Gómez de la Serna. Coinciding with the exhibition in Madrid, coordinated by Àngel Ferrant, an ADLAN-Madrid section was set up.

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