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Picasso and Dalí works, face to face for the first time, are on show in Barcelona

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled on Friday the first exhibition in the world analysing how Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí artistically admired and influenced each other, despite their political differences. The Catalan museum has opened the most awaited temporary exhibition of the season, which will run until 28 June. 'Picasso/Dalí. Dalí/Picasso' showcases 78 works of these two giants of 20th century art, including paintings, drawings, collages, sculptures and carvings. They tell the story of their artistic relationship and how their works evolved by setting many parallels between the two. The exhibition also includes 33 documents such as some letters that Gala and Salvador Dalí sent to Picasso, which had only been on show once, in Paris.

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20 March 2015 09:13 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled on Friday the first exhibition in the world analysing how Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí artistically admired and influenced each other, despite their political differences. The Catalan museum has opened the most awaited temporary exhibition of the season, which will run until 28 June. 'Picasso/Dalí. Dalí/Picasso' showcases 78 works of these two giants of 20th century art, including paintings, drawings, collages, sculptures and carvings. They tell the story of their artistic relationship and how their works evolved, taking different paths but influencing each other and working on similar subjects, and even together on a few occasions. The exhibition also includes 33 documents such as some letters that Gala and Salvador Dalí sent to Picasso, which had only been on show once, in Paris.


From 20 March until 28 June, people visiting Barcelona's Picasso Museum will be able to enjoy this unique exhibition. The show is a co-production between the art centre of the Catalan capital, the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation based in Figueres (which runs the largest Dalí museum, located in the painter's home town) and the Dalí Museum of Florida's Saint Petersburg. In addition, 25 other museums and private collections have contributed works.

"Through this exhibition we tell a really important story of Art History in the 20th century", stated Bernardo Lainado-Romero, Director of Barcelona's Picasso Museum. "Surprisingly it is a totally unknown story; it has been studied but it has never been the object of an exhibition", Lainado-Romero highlighted, and the "series of works" on show "tell this story". The curators were Juan José Lahuerta (until 2013) and now Willian Jeffett. Their objective has been to better understand the work and evolution of the two artists, more than finding links between the two of them.

This collective effort has enabled them to put together a great and extremely valuable amount of works from the two Spanish artists, who both spent crucial parts of their careers in Barcelona and Paris. Picasso, born in 1881, moved to the Catalan capital as a teenager in 1895, because his father had got a job there as a teacher. In 1907, the Andalusian-born artist painted the first Cubist work in the world, 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon', which portrayed a group of prostitutes from the Avinyó Street, in the Catalan capital. Picasso had already moved to Paris, but he kept a close and intimate relationship with Barcelona all his life.

Salvador Dalí, born in 1904 in the Catalan city of Figueres, was much younger than Picasso, who had a great influence on him in his first years as painter but also during his entire career. In 1922, Dalí moved from Figueres to Madrid, and later on to Paris. The visit that the Catalan painter made to Picasso's studio in the French capital in 1926 was of "vital importance", stressed Lainado-Romero. After that moment, Dalí went from analysing the Andalusian's work to developing his own Surrealist style. Furthermore, in the late 1920s and 1930s, both Dalí and Picasso were "working in the same groups" in the French capital, he explained, and they even worked together on a few occasions.

"Much has been said about a competitive relationship between the two artists, but I think […] it is the relationship between two colleagues, two colleagues sharing a 23-year age difference", said the Director of the Catalan Museum. Lainado-Romero also emphasised the "mutual artistic respect" they had for each other's work, despite the very different ideologies they shared, particularly during and after the Spanish Civil War. Such a mutual admiration "is obvious from Picasso’s gestures towards Dalí" he added. For instance, Picasso paid for the first trip to the United States made by the Catalan painter. However, it can also be seen by "Dalí’s donation of works to Picasso, made 7 months after the opening of Barcelona's Picasso museum".

The first of the exhibition focuses on the times when both artists did not know each other personally, when Dalí was looking at Picasso's work. Then, the exhibition covers the period in which their life paths converged and shared a parallel story for a while, with the start of the Surrealist movement. Finally, the exhibition displays works from their later years, such as their interpretations of Velázquez canvases, for whom they both shared a great admiration. In fact, both Picasso and Dalí devoted a series of works to Velázquez's 'Las Meninas', one of his masterpieces from the 17th century.

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  • 'Picasso/Dalí. Dalí/Picasso' features works from both artistic giants (by P. Cortina)

  • 'Picasso/Dalí. Dalí/Picasso' features works from both artistic giants (by P. Cortina)
Picasso and Dalí works, face to face for the first time, are on show in Barcelona