Pablo Picasso Sowa 1948 fajans, farby podszkliwne, rytowanie Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie © Succession Picasso 2023

PICASSO in Warsaw. Exhibition launched at the National Museum

An exhibition of works by Pablo Picasso has been organised at the National Museum in Warsaw. The exhibition tells the story of half a century of Pablo Picasso’s work – from elegant classicism in the 1920s to free and raw expression in the last years of the artist’s life. The public will have a unique opportunity to see more than 120 of his works: prints, ceramics and book illustrations. Most of them will be presented in Warsaw for the first time and come from the collection of the Museo Casa Natal Picasso (literally: Picasso’s Birthplace Museum) in Malaga. They will be accompanied by selected works by the artist from the collection of the MNW.

Beauty found

The ideal of beauty is the leitmotif of the first part of the exhibition. Picasso searched for it in the world of antiquity – he found works there that served as a reference point for the development of his own creative ideas. The public’s attention will be drawn to the richness of the vital representations of nude figures and the respect for proportion, already evident in Picasso’s first period of artistic activity. This climate of classical harmony is also evident in the artist’s later works created after the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the Second War. Antique and Renaissance inspirations will be explored, among others, in engravings featuring intimate, genre scenes and images of the artist’s partner, Françoise Gilot.

A legacy of myths

Málaga, the birthplace and first years of Picasso, is a city with a history of nearly 3,000 years. It was founded by Phoenician sailors in the eighth century BC, then this commercial centre on the shores of the Mediterranean became a city of the Roman Empire, and Greek and Roman myths were incorporated into the local culture. They were also a natural part of the education of the young Picasso, who was educated in art schools, copying ancient works. Three mythological figures – the Minotaur, the centaur and the faun – quickly and permanently captured his imagination. The exhibition will feature numerous representations of them.

Ceramic faces

After the Second World War, while on the Côte d’Azur, Picasso became passionate about ceramics. With great dedication, he experimented with various techniques for decorating vessels and, over a period of about 20 years, he modelled ,shaped, designed, decorated, carved and sculpted more than 3,500 objects in clay. The ceramic platters and jugs with images of mythological figures, animals, plants and food are the result of these artistic and craftsmanlike explorations presented in the exhibition.

Pablo Picasso Woman in Chair No. 4 1949 lithograph, paper National Museum in Warsaw © Succession Picasso 2023

Polish accents

In 1948, Pablo Picasso visited Poland – in Breslau he attended the Stalinist World Congress of Intellectuals for Peace. The arrival also provided an opportunity to visit other Polish cities. Warsaw and Krakow, among others, were on the artist’s itinerary. A souvenir of his visit to Krakow’s Cloth Hall was an embroidered sheepskin coat purchased by Picasso. This garment appears in the artist’s later works, including the famous series of lithographs ‘Woman in an Armchair’. In the capital, the artist visited the National Museum, to which he donated a collection of ceramic platters and prints. All these themes are present in the exhibition.

Curators: Mario Virgilio Montañez Arroyo (Museo Casa Natal Picasso), Anna Manicka (National Museum in Warsaw)

The exhibition is being created in collaboration with the Museo Casa Natal Picasso in Málaga. The exhibition is being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the artist’s death and Spain’s assumption of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The exhibition is held under the patronage of the Spanish Embassy in Poland. It has been co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The patron of the exhibition is Santander Bank Polska. The arrangement is made in collaboration with AkzoNobel

Exhibition at the National Museum in Warsaw


12 October 2023 – 14 January 2024

source: National Museum in Warsaw

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