Preparing the trip of The Pigeons by Picasso to Mexico

This month of May, The Pigeons (1957) and the plates Parade of the bullfighters (1957) and Plunging a pair of “banderillas” into the bull (1957) have travelled to the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes de Mèxic for the exhibition “Picasso revealed by David Douglas Duncan” which can be seen until July 20th. But how have the works been prepared to go away on this trip?

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Pablo Picasso. The Pigeons. Cannes,September 6th 1957. Oil of canvas. 100 x 80 cm. Gift of Pablo Picasso, 1968. MPB 70.451 | Pablo Picasso. Parade of the bullfighters. Cannes, 1957. Cancelled copper plate of the sugar lift aquatint. 20.1 x 30.1 x 0.1 cm. Given by the Barcelona City Council , 1963. MPB 70.878 | Pablo Picasso. Plunging a pair of “banderillas” into the bull.Cannes, 1957. Cancelled copper plate of the sugar lift aquatint. 20.,1 x 30,1 x 0.1 cm. Given by the BarcelonaCity Council, 1963. MPB 70.889

First of all a revision of the work is carried out to see and document its state of conservation.

In this case, as three works were to be shipped (an oil painting of 100×80 cm and two small copper plates of some 20×30 cm) a wooden packing case was made to size adapted internally to locate the two plates in a specific compartment. This compartment is made of a specific material which prevents the corrosion of the metals.

First of all, the two copper plates are packed and then the oil painting is prepared wrapping it in paper so as to avoid any penetration of dampness, but at the same time allowing the work to breathe. Once wrapped, it is carefully placed in the wooden packing case and it is closed and secured.

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Finally, the case, now prepared to travel, is weighed so as to include the details on the transport information sheet and is labelled with the pertinent file number.

The works are usually accompanied by a technician of the museum, called “courier”, who is the person charged with supervising the processes of unpacking and installation of the work, to detect any change or incident, and if required, to physically intervene in the work. In this image we can see the courier, our head of restoration Reyes Jiménez, while installing of the two copper plates in the display case of the exhibition in Mexico.

Museum’s newsroom

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