How the Museu Picasso Collection was created

On July 4th the second exhibition dedicated to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Museu Picasso was inaugurated. The exhibition will be on until November 24th and is entitled “50 years of the Museu Picasso in Barcelona. The Collection”.

Creació de la Col·lecció

First display of the Las Meninas series at the Berenguer d’Aguilar Palace, 1968 Photographer: Pérez de Rozas

The creation of the Museu Picasso of Barcelona was the sum of a series of intentions and agreements established between the City Council of Barcelona and Jaume Sabartés, under the supervision of Pablo Picasso himself, with the aim of providing Barcelona with an institution which would show the public, in a monographic way, the work of Picasso.  Right from the outset, the collection that the museum foresaw to house was complemented and enriched; and this process has continued to the present day.

The Collection was fundamentally formed by means of donations and legacies.  This particularity implicitly included the fact that the growth of the collection didn’t happen in a planned way, but has been subject to the will and generosity of the benefactors.  At the time of its foundation, Sabartés donated just about all of his collection, although he kept for himself and for his most intimate circle a small number of works.  Picasso also carefully chose the works that would be given to the Barcelona museum:  the works which had closer ties with the city, with his learning process and with the Spanish pictorial tradition.

With the rest of the donations, big and small, there was a common fact that was regularly repeated: the benefactors returned to Picasso – to his museum in Montcada street- the works he had given to them, as a sign of recognition and friendship.  The works of art had returned to their creator through the museum, as if they had wanted to close a circle.

The exhibition occupies four small galleries and is articulated in the following way:

In the first gallery the exhibition shows, in separate drawings, the growth of the Collection since 1963 and the distribution of the works by periods.  On a screen you can find an interactive activity that explains who the people and institutions are that donated works to the museum.

The second area is dedicated to the collections that made up the museum at the time of its inauguration, the Sabartés collection and the contribution from the City Council of Barcelona, formed by the donations from Picasso himself and other collectors in the Museums of Barcelona, and the acquisitions made by the City Council, among which it is worth highlighting the Plandiura Acquisition.

Creació de la Col·leccióCreació de la Col·lecció

Works donated by the Barcelona City Council, in the galleries of the Berenguer d’Aguilar Palace. Unknown photographer | Salvador Dalí donating Picasso’s engravings, which illustrated the French edition of the work Les Metamorphoses d’Ovidi. Photographer: Pérez de Rozas

The third gallery includes the major donations by Pablo Picasso — that of Las Meninas in 1968 and the more than two thousand works in 1970, as well as gifts from various personalities linked to the artist.

Las Meninas. Pablo Picasso 1957. Oli sobre tela. 194 x 260 cm. MPB 70.433 | Las Meninas (infanta Margarida Maria). Pablo Picasso, 14/09/1957. Oli sobre tela. 100 x 81 cm. MPB 70.459

Finally, in the fourth gallery we present a small exhibition of the acquisitions made by the Museum and another selection of works donated from 1970 to the present day.  Furthermore, on one screen you can see a video of the physical creation of the museum, that of the buildings, and the museographical changes that have taken place over the fifty years.  On another screen an interactive video lets you see the main events, donations, acquisitions and entrance of works, chronologically ordered and with images of accredited documents.

Malén Gual
Curator of the exhibition

Related links
Narration of the arrival of Las Meninas to the museum by Lluís Permanyer

  • Armando
    July 27, 2013

    Queria comprar o livro “50 years of the Museu Picasso in Barcelona” mas não encontro nenhum link para venda online no site, se alguém souber onde posso comprar?

  • Museu Picasso
    July 29, 2013

    Hola Armando, aquí te dejamos el link online para poder comprar el catálogo. Muchas gracias

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