New Project to Explore Picasso in the Mediterranean

The 2-year-long initiative includes exhibitions at 60 museums.

Spanish painter Pablo Picasso in Mougins, France, in 1971. A new major project 'Picasso Mediterranean' focuses on the artist's relationship to the sea. Photo read RALPH GATTI/AFP/Getty Images.
Spanish painter Pablo Picasso in Mougins, France, in 1971. Photo courtesy RALPH GATTI/AFP/Getty Images.

This week, the Museé Picasso in Paris has presented an international program of exhibitions focused on the Pablo Picasso‘s relationship to the Mediterranean region.

60 museums from Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Morocco, and Turkey will participate in this major initiative, called “Picasso-Méditerranée 2017-2019,” which will launch in April this year and will run until 2019, according to El País.

“It’s a collective project to celebrate Picasso in a new, kaleidoscopic way, advocating for dialogue between the Mediterranean’s shores—not hierarchically, but instead in a way that represents the identity of every museum,” Laurent Le Bon, director of the Museé Picasso in Paris, said this past Monday, when the project was presented at a conference at the museum.

“It’s often the case, with Picasso that we think we know everything about him, but there is still a lot left to say. Just like the Roman God Janus, Picasso always ends up showing that he has two sides—light and shadow,” added Le Bon, who spearheaded the project.

The first exhibition will launch on April 9 in Naples, at the at the Capodimonte Museum. The show will explore Picasso’s first trip to Italy, when he met his first wife, Olga Khokhlova, a Russian ballerina. It will focus on the legendary backdrop that Picasso created in 1917 for Parade, the famed ballet created by Erik Satie and Jean Cocteau for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.

Shortly after, on April 19, a show exploring the intense relationship between Picasso and and his models will open at the Mohamed VI Museum in Rabat, Morocco.

The first exhibition to take place in Picasso’s native Spain will come in May. A display tackling the artist’s relationship with photography, organized in collaboration with Spanish photographer Joan Fontcuberta, will open at the Picasso Museum in Buitrago del Lozoya, a small town north of Madrid, which houses a collection of drawings, ceramics, prints, and books assembled by Picasso’s friend and barber, Eugenio Arias.

A total of 12 Spanish museums are participating in “Picasso-Méditerranée 2017-2019,” including the Picasso museums in Barcelona and Málaga, and the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid, which will close the cycle in 2019 with an exhibition about Picasso’s time in Gósol, a town in Catalonia where he lived in 1906, a formative year that was key in his development as an artist.


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