Fundación MAPFRE has presented in Barcelona the Picasso-Picabia. Painting in question exhibition, which brings together for the first time the intertwining stories of these two great contemporary artists who, although appearing to have an almost conflicting concept of art, have more in common than was originally thought. This strange understanding is reflected in an ambiguous and unique relationship which the exhibition, open to the public at Casa Garriga Nogués until 13 January 2019, teaches us about in greater detail.
Organized in collaboration with the Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence, with the exceptional support of the Musée national Picasso-Paris, houses more than 150 pieces of art, including paintings, drawings, graphic arts, letters and photographs divided into nine thematic sections which help us discover the real and imagined links between these two artists, as well as the disagreements they also had.
Picasso-Picabia. Painting in question seeks to cover an essential period in the art history of our times. This journey begins with cubism, of which Picasso was the main exponent, and its later Orphic offshoot, which Picabia formed part of; the birth of dadaism in 1915, of which Picabia is undoubtedly one of the key figures, not forgetting the surrealist environment in Paris at that time; or when both artists were in Barcelona at the same time in 1917, where Picabia launched his 391 magazine.
Around 1925, after Picasso returned to classicism, both share a taste for what has been described as “the era of the monsters” at a time at which they were both on the Costa Azul for several summers. The exhibition ends with a selection of their latest canvases: if Picasso returns unrelentingly to the human figure until his death in 1973, Picabia, whose career ended in 1953, reduces the act of painting to subtle monochromes splattered with dots.
These two artists, one Spanish and the other a Frenchman of Hispano-Cuban descent, both of whom were linked in the beginning due to their similar surnames, which led to confusion in the press when they were not yet well known, above all share a special relationship with Barcelona and the desire to challenge pictorial conventions established by the historiography of art. For both of them “to assassinate painting”, was the route they took to rejuvenate it.
The exhibition finishes with a selection of their later canvases, in which Picasso returns unrelentingly to the human figure until his death in 1973. Picabia, whose career ended in 1953, reduced the act of painting to subtle monochromes splattered with dots.
This exhibition forms part of the international Picasso-Mediterranean project, a Musée national Picasso-Paris initiative. This program of exhibitions, activities and scientific exchanges is being carried out between 2017 and 2019 and more than seventy international institutions are taking part: