Some archive photographs reminded me of my first experiences in the museum. They were a cycle of talks about the life and work of Picasso: what a pleasure it was to listen to Francesc Vicens talking about the man from Malaga!
Shortly afterwards, in 1980, I started on my professional path into the world of Picasso (first the access tests into the body of museum curators of the Spanish state, and afterwards the work practice). An energetic path of emotions under the sign of constant training and of sensorial and life experiences:
The works! The eye close to a canvas, a print, a sculpture a piece of pottery… inside a box, well stored, coming from lands more or less far away; on top of a table beneath the look of the restorer, leaning against a wall before being hung, floating on the wall in dialogue with other works… What a privilege! Getting close to a dripping stain, a materialistic or diluted brushstroke, a soft stroke with Conté pencil, the firm incision with a burin, the velvety texture of the aquatint. An exciting spectacle, inexhaustible, with moments of plenitude so as to enjoy the artistic wealth and multiplicity of the genius.
Picasso has made us laugh and has surprised us with his drawings; he has made us sad with his poignant look at the cruel reality of his time; he has made us enjoy ourselves within the cabarets; drinking in his taverns, becoming aware of his commitments, reading his books… All in all, he has taught us to look, to observe, and we have learnt and continue to learn.
Marc Fumaroli, Octavio Paz and Pere Gimferrer. Symposium: Avant-garde 100th anniversary. 1994. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Unknown photographer
The guests! Picasso has had and has many guests. His teachers and contemporaries. Titanic struggles! From Iberian art and tribal art, passing through Velázquez, Goya, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Zuloaga… up to his contemporaries Derain, Matisse, Klee, Masson… Picasso has been generous by bringing us a whole range of works of art (many of them his, others from cultures and artists that he had fixed on) that have educated us in art.
The people! Jacqueline, generous with her donations to the city; her daughter, Catherine Hutin, always close to the museum; Claude, Paloma, Marina, Maya, Bernard, the Vilató family… giving us works and coming to the events of the museum; the charm and bonhomie of Angela Rosengart; the interior elegance and culture of the Ludwing couple; the wisdom of Giulio Carlo Argan, Octavio Paz, Marc Fumaroli…; the knowledge of Gérard Régnier, Werner Spies, Brigitte Léal, Hélène Klein, Dominique Dupuis-Labbé, Brigitte Baer, Pierre Daix, Palau i Fabre, José Milicua, Francesc Fontbona, Rosa Vives…; the reflections of the much missed Antonio Saura, and the civil society of Barcelona deeply rooted in the museum, the notary Noguera, the Gili, Gaspar, and Reventós families… and the great guarantor of the museum within the house (The City Council), Joan Ainaud de Lasarte.
And the group of predisposed women that formed part of the Association of Friends of the Museum! By the side of Anna Maria Torra de Gili, Maria, Pepa, Carmen, Denis, Jacqueline, Marta…, they were informative support for many years.
Exhibition “From Pablo to Jacqueline“. 17/10/1990. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Photographer: Jaume Soler
The collaborators of the museum: professionals who make sure the paintings are well framed, well hung, that the serigraphy of the texts is well done, that the galleries are guarded, that the museum is clean, etc: an internal and external team that, over the years has been the motor of this institution that this year is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Unforgettable moments within the history of the institution and of the city: Picasso’s centenary, the Olympic Games, the successive annexes of the palaces… and the unforgettable exhibitions, the opening up of the museum to new publics, etc.
Fifty years of history of the institution (more than thirty years of my experiential memories) full of collective and personal memories where there is room for everybody equally, the registration, the head porter, the director, the guard, the restorer, the administrator, the conserver…: the team! A team that serves the citizens, under the baton of an exceptional artistic director: Pablo Picasso.
Claustre Rafart i Planas