The Museo Picasso Málaga has just inaugurated an exhibition entitled “Picasso of Malaga. Earliest works”, curated by Rafael Inglada, which looks into the ties between Picasso and his city of birth. This exhibition has been organized with the support and collaboration of the Museu Picasso, Barcelona.
The exhibition brings together 53 works by Picasso, most of which are from his childhood and early youth, along with a selection of works from his later years that reveal how Malaga left a mark on his work. Furthermore, it includes 35 works by other artists settled in Malaga at the end of the 19th century and more than 100 documents that recreate how the city was at that time.
Exhibition galleries. Photo: Jesús Domínguez © Museo Picasso Malaga
The works have been grouped together thematically, allowing us to see the early creations of Picasso as a child, the analysis he made of the members of his family, as well as capturing the intellectual and popular environment of his city. The works of his father, José Ruiz, dialogue with his companions from the School of Fine Arts: Antonio Muñoz Degrain, José Moreno Carbonero, José Denis Belgrano and Joaquín Martínez de la Vega.
Among the works by Pablo Ruiz Picasso we can highlight the first drawings of doves and the first cutouts produced before he was 10 years old (MPB 110.239), as well as the Portrait of Aunt Pepa (Museu Picasso, MPB 110.010) from 1896, the Portrait of the old fisherman (Museu de Montserrat) from 1895 and the Portrait of the mother of the artist (Musée Réattu, Arles), from 1923.
Portrait of Aunt Pepa. June-July 1896. Oil on canvas. 57,5 x 50,5 cm. MPB 110.010
A series of landscapes especially grab our the attention and invite us to reflect on the innate qualities of the artist. Displayed on the same wall are three seascapes by three different artists: the central one is Dusk over the port of Malaga by Emilio Ocón, painted in 1878; this is accompanied by the copy of Dusk over the port of Malaga, produced by José Ruiz in 1887 and the small canvas Port of Malaga by Pablo Picasso, dated 1890. Although the work by José Ruiz is a literal copy of the work of Ocón, the copy by Pablo is much less orthodox: it doesn’t only change the perspective and leave out elements from the original, but it also dares to introduce a sailing boat, inspired by another work by Ocón, but not that of the work that in theory he was copying.
The rich documentary section helps us understand what the Malaga that Picasso lived in was like: the popular characters who inhabited its streets, the festivities, the religiousness and the political controversies covered by the local and national press.
Exhibition galleries Photo: Jesús Domínguez © Museo Picasso Malaga
To complement the exhibition, the museum has held the seminar Malaga at the end of the 19th century so as to study the socio-cultural scene of Malaga during the period of the transition between the two centuries.
On the first day, Manuel Corrales traced a map of how the city evolved from Arab times until the 19th century. Javier Barón showed the Spanish artistic panorama between 1850 and 1900, and Lourdes Jiménez reflected on the painters who were settled in Malaga.
On the second day, Natasha Staller talked about her research about the presence of José Ruiz in the works of Picasso from the later years. In representation of the Museu Picasso we showed the evolution of the artist in his formative period, by means of paintings produced in the summers spent in Malaga. Finally, Rafael Inglada spoke about more biographical aspects and the Ruiz-Picasso family and the evocations and memories of the Artist and his Andalusian years.
Curator of the Collection of the Museum