Cubism and the War at the Picasso Museum



One of the two fall exhibitions at the Picasso Museum examines Cubism in relation to the trauma of the First World War. The First World War had a very particular effect on the artists featured in the show, including a large contingent of foreigners who were based in Paris. Three of these stand out particularly in the exhibition: Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Diego Rivera. While the accent will be on artists who did not see service, two great Cubists who did survive the trenches, Georges Braque and Fernand Léger, play a key role in the show. Special attention is also given to Henri Matisse, one of the leading artists in France in the 20th century. Beyond fighting age to go to war, from 1913 to 1917 Matisse produced some of his most ground-breaking, experimental works responding to Cubism in a highly personal way. Another highlight is the group of Cubist paintings by Diego Rivera, whose work from this period is lesser known. This body of work has never been seen previously in Barcelona.

The exhibition is organized as a year-by-year narration, with the goal of creating visual juxtapositions between different works, thus accenting the development of Cubism during the period. At the same time, a selection of documents will be shown so as to illuminate the historical context through correspondence between those at the front and those who stayed behind (the artists and their friends). This documentation also shows visual popular culture related to the war, sourced from illustrated magazines and newspapers, for example.
Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace, 1917. Oil on canvas 200 x 200 cm. Centre Pompidou, Paris. Musée national d’Art moderne/Centre de création industrielle. Bequest Baronne Eva Gourgaud, 1965. AM 3760 P.

According to Christopher Green, curator of the exhibition, “This exhibition reveals Cubism as a highly creative and positive response to the imperative to reaffirm a constructive path, in contrast to the context of the mechanization of war, a need whose reparative urgency was deep-felt and intense.”

The exhibition brings more than 60 pieces, including painting, drawing, sculpture and prints, created between 1913 and 1919, including masterworks by Picasso, Juan Gris and Diego Rivera -the show’s feature artists- as well as Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Maria Blanchard, Gino Severini, and the sculptors Henri Laurens and Jacques Lipchitz.
Juan Gris, The Guitar (La guitarra), 1918, oil on canvas, 81 x 59.5 cm, Museo Reina Sofía, on deposit by Fundación Telefónica.
The exhibition will be on view until January 29, 2017

The museum houses the artistic production of Pablo Picasso from his early, training years while examining various themes of the master’s life and work: Picasso’s origins in figurative painting, his early influences, his first abstracts, his relationship with the city of Barcelona and his impressive 58-piece fascination with Velasquez’s Las Meninas. The collection spreads in five adjoined medieval mansions built in Catalan Gothic style.
Carrer Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona. (see map below)
Metro: Line 1 - Arc de Triomf Station / Line 3 - Liceu Station / Line 4 - Jaume I Station
Just the exhibition: 6,50€. Collection + temporary exhibition: 14€.
Tuesday to Sundays: 9am to 7pm. Thursdays: until 9.30pm. Closed on Mondays.


Share this article