Picasso’s Guernica will not reach Bilbao

P. Picasso. Guernica. 1937. The Queen Sofia National Museum, Madrid

Curators of the Spanish Queen Sofia National Museum refused to transfer Pablo Picasso’s celebrated work Guernica to a branch of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

For several years the government of the independent community of the country of Basques insisted on transporting the huge canvas in Bilbao or to expose it in Guernica, Basques’ city which was destroyed by bombing by the Italian and German aircraft in 1937. The Spanish experts resist it because of the safety of the work. The results of the detailed examination showed that the picture is in serious, but a stable condition which can became worse during the next transportation.

Picasso made his Guernica in May, 1937, soon after bombardment of the city with the same name. The huge canvas is a powerful, expressional image of scenes of horror, violence and destructions. Picasso’s anti-war manifesto became famous all over the world and it was exhibited in many museums of Europe and the USA.

In 1950s Guernica travelled all over the world and took part in the various events organized in support of republican Spain. Since 1958 the picture “settled” in the New York Museum of Modern Art where it was harmed seriously when one of the visitors scattered the canvas with red paint. At that period Picasso supervised the restoration personally and was happy with its result.

The artist said that he would like to see the work in the collection of the Madrid Prado gallery but after the end of the Franco’s dictatorship. Picasso’s wish was realized only in 1981, after nine years of his death. Guernica was included into the collection of Prado. In 1992 the picture was transported again. At this time it has been sent to the Queen Sofia National Museum where it is till now.

One of these days the museum experts council announced that the picture has more than 120 damages and is in a breaking condition. The greatest damage was made during numerous transportations when the canvas was removed from a stretcher and turned off. Also scientists commentes on that the masterpiece is subject to restoration, but its following transportations will cause an irreversible damage.

The issue concerning the canvas transfer was raised last year during 70th-anniversary from the date of tragic events in Guernica. At that moment the management of the Museum of the Queen Sofia promised to send Picasso’s masterpiece to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the capital of the country of Basques. Nowadays, according to curator Jorge Garcia Gomes, this issue is out of question.

Published in: on September 18, 2008 at 11:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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