The Botín Centre, in collaboration with the Musée national Picasso-Paris and with the inestimable support of the Picasso family, presents the exhibition “Picasso Ibero”, which can be enjoyed in Santander from 1 May to 12 September 2021.

Curated by Cécile Godefroy, with Roberto Ontañón Peredo as associate curator, the exhibition’s scientific committee is made up of leading international experts on Iberian art: Teresa Chapa Brunet, Hélène Le Meaux, Alicia Rodero Riaza and Rubí Sanz Gamo, coordinated by Pierre Rouillard. “Picasso Ibero”, the first major exhibition on the influence of the art of the Iberians on the work of Picasso, comprises over 200 pieces from different collections. There are works of Iberian art from museums, including 41 pieces from the Museo Arqueológico Nacional in Madrid and others from the museums of Jaén, Albacete, Elche, Valencia, Córdoba, Teruel, Alcudia, Alcoy, Alicante and Carmona, as well as loans from the Université Bordeaux Montaigne and the Museo della Civiltà Romana in Rome. Also on display are 14 pieces from the important collection of Iberian art at the Musée du Louvre. The exhibition features important loans of works by Picasso from the Musée national Picasso-Paris, the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte (FABA), the Museo Picasso Málaga, the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the Fundación Juan March, the Musée national d’art moderne-Centre Pompidou, and private lenders.

Pablo Picasso first came across Iberian art at the start of 1906 in the Louvre, which was then displaying an important set of recently excavated sculptures and artefacts. This discovery marked a watershed in his formal investigations, leading him from his more classical work to his leap forward into Cubism. This exhibition at the Botín Centre offers visitors a complete panorama of the artist’s works from his Proto-Cubist period to his last years. At the same time it examines the fertile dialogue that begin with the “Iberian” period, following the decisive developments leading from the Picasso of the rose period to a selection of works from 1908, and continuing up to the pieces that resound formally or conceptually with the great themes, characteristics and practices of Iberian art. These continue up to his final years of activity, and include an immense variety of techniques and artistic accomplishments.

For Cécile Godefroy, the curator of the exhibition, “Picasso Ibero” is a very enriching visual experience that will allow more people to learn about the diversity and artistic style of the Iberian people through the largest group of works ever gathered together for joint display, which moreover engage in dialogue with Picasso’s work.” The exhibition thus offers visitors an opportunity to reflect on the influences of Iberian art on Picasso’s work, and on how the discovery of a “primitive” autochthonous art, coinciding with a crucial moment when academicism was being called into question, contributed to the formation of an exceptional identity and artistic language. This unique opportunity is intended to open up discussion on the influences and practices of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century while revealing the beauty and importance of Iberian art.

According to Fátima Sánchez, executive director of the Botín Centre, “this show is a continuation of our firm undertaking to investigate and explore the lesser-known aspects of the creative process of a great master of modern art, as we did with our previous exhibitions on Joan Miró and Alexander Calder, revealing in this case the importance of history in his work, which makes it particularly enriching and allows us to observe and enjoy art from a new perspective.”

VR Sunil Gohil