The exhibition that opens today celebrates Picasso’s friendship with the Reventós family over almost a century, from the end of the 1800s up until the artist’s death in 1973.
In 1899, Picasso met Ramón (Moni) and Jacint (Cinto) Reventós Bordoy through Àngel Fernández de Soto, who worked with Ramón at the Mir y Suñol import company on Princesa street, a block away from here. He was quickly welcomed into Reventós family circle; at their house in Pau Claris street, there were regular informal gatherings attended by artists and intellectuals of differing ages and schools of thought. The guests ranged from famous personalities such as Isaac Albéniz, Ramón Casas, Miquel Utrillo and Santiago Rusiñol, to young men of the same generation as Picasso, Ramón, Jacint and Manuel Reventós, such as Carles Casagemas, Ángel and Mateo Fernández de Soto, Pau Gargallo and Eugeni d’Ors.
Pablo Picasso. Letter from Picasso and Casagemas, with drawings by Picasso, to Ramon and Jacint Reventós Bordoy. Paris, 19 November 1900. Conté crayon, coloured pencils and pen and ink on paper. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Acquisition 1997. MPB 113.025c © Succession Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2015
Picasso’s friendship with the Reventós brothers was very close from January 1899 until his final departure for Paris in April 1904. Once settled in the French capital, Picasso remained in contact with Ramón and Jacint by letter, and they continued to get together during his increasingly infrequent visits to Barcelona in 1906, 1909 and 1917.
Pablo Picasso. Ramon Reventós Bordoy. Barcelona, 1899-1900. Peinture à l’essence, charcoal and Conté crayon on paper. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Gift of Pablo Picasso, 1970. MPB 110.872 © Succession Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2015 | Pablo Picasso. Jacint Reventós Bordoy. Barcelona, 1900. Charcoal and coloured turpentine on paper. Private Collection © Succession Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2015
After his return to Paris in November 1917, Picasso would never again see his friend Ramón, who died in January 1923. The friendship with Jacint was reduced to occasional, brief correspondence and was only renewed in the 1950s when the latter’s son, Jacint Reventós Conti (Cinto II), came to visit the artist.
Joan Vidal I Ventosa. Fernande Olivier, Pablo Picasso and Ramon Reventós at El Guayaba. 1906. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Collection Joan Vidal Ventosa © Succession Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2015
The relationship continued beyond Jacint’s death thanks to his son, Jacint Reventós Conti, who remained in regular contact with Picasso and his wife Jacqueline. Picasso supported various initiatives to honour and commemorate Jacint’s career in Barcelona. He sent plates for prints to illustrate books published in memory of his friend and in early 1973, a few months before his death, he donated the painting The Dead Woman for the creation of a pulmonology wing at the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau.
Pablo Picasso. The dead woman. Barcelona, 1903. Oil on canvas. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Ceded by the Fundació Picasso-Reventós, 1983 © Succession Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2015. MPB 112.109
The exhibition is split into three sections which illustrate the periods of greatest contact between Picasso and the Reventós brothers.
The first section shows correspondence and artworks from the first years of their friendship. The second is devoted to Ramón and his literary works. Finally, the third section explores the renewed friendship with the Reventós family which flourished in the mid-1950s.
Pablo Picasso. Letter from Casagemas, whit drawing by Picasso, to Ramon Reventós Bordoy. Paris, 25 October 1900. Text in sepia ink and Conté crayon, Conté crayon and coloured pencil drawing, on paper. Collection Fundació Picasso-Reventós © Succession Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2015
The exhibition can be visited at the museum until 10 January 2016 and you can follow it via social media under the hashtag #PicassoReventós.
Exhibition Curator and curator of the museum’s collection