Museo Picasso Málaga’s priority objective is to promote the diverse and universal work of Picasso. For this reason, today, Monday 1st June, the digital presentation of “Dialogues with Picasso. Collection 2020-2023” goes out to the international cultural and social community that has been created around the institution. This new museographic layout of the collection is the result of the joint endeavours of Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso (FABA) and MPM’s own artistic team.

This is the sixth transformation of the exhibition rooms of the Palacio de Buenavista since the museum first opened in 2003. There are currently 120 works on display, with highlights such as the cubist sculpture Glass of Absinthe (1914), or the return of the painting Susanna and the Elders (1955), and even a tapestry based on the Demoiselles d’Avignon. Digital and educational material are also particularly important features. This is all thanks to the negotiations that took place to ratify the agreement between the Consejería de Cultura y Patrimonio de la Junta de Andalucía and FABA, which has been renewed for three more years, during which time a total of 162 works by Picasso will be added to the 233 works MPM holds in its own collection.

The new layout of the permanent collection is the result of the combined efforts of the professional staff of Museo Picasso Málaga and FABA, and the collaboration of guest associate curator Pepe Karmel, Associate Professor of Art History at the University of New York.

By periodically refreshing, and thus revising, its permanent collection, Museo Picasso Málaga is in a way following in the footsteps of Picasso himself, who innovated constantly with his art throughout his life. With its thematic and chronological layout, this new exhibition narrative in the Palacio de Buenavista will enable visitors to acquire a deeper knowledge of Pablo Picasso’s artistic career by grouping his works together in a way that helps them to understand his artistic processes.

The new layout of the exhibition rooms owes its unique features to a selection of 162 works on loan from FABA, some of which have never been shown before in Málaga, and to an innovative scenographic layout in the museum spaces. This renewal comprises works currently held by the museum and others that are returning after having been shown here before, either in the permanent collection or in temporary exhibitions. There are 44 paintings, 49 drawings, 40 graphic works, 10 sculptures, 17 ceramics, 1 tapestry and 1 linocut plate. With the 233 works belonging to Museo Picasso Málaga and these 162 from Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso (FABA), the collection will hold almost four hundred works by Pablo Picasso, dating from between 1894 and 1972, of which 120 will be on display in the Palacio de Buenavista.

In addition to this, The Three Graces (1923), a large canvas which shows us Picasso at his most classical and monumental, will be remaining in MPM for another three years, along with the iconic bronze Bull’s Head (1942), made from the handlebars and saddle of a bicycle, as well as other artworks. Together with the rest of the pieces on display, all these works build a story that begins with Picasso’s formative years and continues through the most representative periods of the artist’s career.

Getting to know Picasso

For the exhibition presentation associate curator Pepe Karmel, who devised the exhibition concept, explained his point of view as follows: "The challenge in displaying the work of Pablo Picasso is to do justice to his astonishing diversity while also demonstrating the unity and coherence of his work. In just a few years, Picasso travelled from the drama and tenderness of the Blue and Rose Periods to the cerebral experiment of cubism. After the First World War, he invented a new, modern form of classicism. In the 1920s and ‘30s, he went back and forth among cubism, classicism and surrealism. After World War II, he invented new styles for which art historians have still not found names. He is best known as a painter but was also the greatest sculptor of the twentieth century. And the greatest printmaker.

To help the visitor to get to know Picasso, Karmel came up with the idea of displaying his work "in small groups of related pictures and sculptures. Each group is focused on a traditional subject such as the human body, the portrait, or the still life. One room is a “bestiary,” with paintings and sculptures of bulls, birds, and cats. There is also a rich selection of his narrative drawings, some illustrating Aristophanes’ bawdy comedy Lysistrata, others recounting the myth of the Minotaur.”

The new layout begins on the ground floor, introducing the visitor to the artist himself through photographs and biographical texts, then moves on to a series of Women and Men, with portraits dating from 1894 to 1906, then another on Cubism: bodies, with works from 1906 to 1914. Then Cubism: still lives, with works from 1911 to 1922, is shown in the same room as the selection Modern Classicism, dating from 1922-1923. The tour continues through Models, Bathers and Defiant Women, with works from 1927 to 1933, and the section Metamorphosis and Abstraction, from the 1927-1932 period.

On the upper floor of the gallery, the exhibition continues with The Minotaur and Other Monsters, which contains a selection of works from 1928 to 1938, and Relentless Gazes, with portraits painted between 1934 and 1939. The Anatomy of Terror, with works dating from 1936 to 1948, and The Face of War, the Face of Peace, from 1944 to 1950, contain works from that convulsive period. Next, we move on to the Bestiary, with depictions of animals dating from 1941 to 1960, and the Carnal Landscapes of 1944 to 1971. With Picasso by now settled in the South of France, Return to the Mediterranean brings together works from 1948 to 1960, and leads to the room containing Familiar Gazes, portraits painted between 1962 and 1965, before ending with The Wise Child, with works from 1970 to 1972 - just a year before he died. Throughout the display, drawings and touchscreens have been installed so that the visitor can discover the rest of the series. This is because the works are exhibited in rotation for conservation purposes and to be able to periodically renew the display,

Catalogue and educational programme

Before the summer, and to coincide with the new layout, Museo Picasso Málaga will be presenting a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by Pepe Karmel, Associate Professor of Art History at New York University, USA; Michael C. FitzGerald, Professor of Fine Arts and Director of the Art History programme at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.; and Salvador Haro, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Universidad de Málaga, amongst others.

A number of cultural activities have been scheduled to take place throughout the summer months, to help stimulate the local art scene and offer the citizens of Málaga a comfortable space in which to enjoy the city’s artistic and cultural diversity. Open-air summer workshops for children have also been devised so that they can explore some of the art techniques Picasso worked with. The programme will include cultural and educational activities that will take place towards the end of the year. For more information, please check the website: www.museopicassomalaga.org

Pablo Picasso as seen by Roberto Otero

Throughout the summer there will also be a display of around 70 photographs from the Roberto Otero Archive, along with a selection of books illustrated by Pablo Picasso. Photos and books belong to the Collection of the Museo Picasso Málaga.

Roberto Otero (Trenque Lauquen, Buenos Aires, 1931 - Palma de Mallorca, 2004) was one of the main photographers to have continuously taken personal pictures of Pablo Picasso during the last few years of his life, in his house in Mougins in the South of France. Busy in his workshop, in the company of his wife Jacqueline Roque, attending a bullfight, contemplating his work… The pictures convey the atmosphere of the artist’s home, a place where he also received visits from his friends and acquaintances.

These photographs will be shown alongside a selection of books illustrated by Pablo Picasso that testify to the artist’s love of books and his special relationship with the written word. These short-run publications each have their own special characteristics and have rarely been shown in public. With them, Museo Picasso Málaga is exhibiting and highlighting a portion of its holdings that is not often on display, but which nevertheless comprises a major part of the permanent collection.

Related Exhibition

Dialogues with Picasso

Collection 2020-2023