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London hosts works by Picasso and Miró to commemorate the Universal Exposition of Paris

January 11, 2017

From the Instituto Cervantes.

The full press release with illustrations can be downloaded as a pdf from this link: picasso-and-miro-in-london-exhibition

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The exhibition “Art revolutionaries”, that includes seventeen paintings, drawings and sculptures, commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Pavilion of the Spanish Republic for the Exposition Internationale in 1937.

Universal Spanish artists Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder and Julio González will be the protagonists of a magnificent exhibition in London (6 Duke Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6BN) at Mayoral art gallery from January 18 to February 10. The exhibition, called Art revolutionaires, commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Pavilion of the Spanish Republic for the Exposition Internationale des Arts et des Techniques appliquées à la Vie Moderne, in 1937 in Paris, with the aim of paying homage to the artists who took place in it. Mayoral is a gallery specialised in modern and post-war art of Barcelona, focusing on the period 1930-1975.

Art revolutionaries includes seventeen paintings, drawings and sculptures, among which Standing Woman and Sitting Woman (1939) and Woman Head (1957) by Picasso; Untitled (1934) and Métamorphose (1936) by Miró; and The Red Base (1969) and Crag with Yellow Boomerang and Red Eggplant (1974) by Calder. The selection of works shares a very close link with those presented by the republican artists in 1937. Many of them were created by the same technique and style or have the same story behind its conception.

The Spanish Pavilion for the Universal Exposition of Paris, 1937, was created in a period of great turbulence, as Spain was in the midst of a Civil War. For this reason, the Pavilion presented by the Spanish Republican Government became a strategic platform to vindicate the tragic situation the country was going through. The curator of the exhibition, Juan Manuel Bonet, former director of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, explains: “Everyday there is an increased awareness that the International Exposition was an exceptional event”.

The architects who designed the building in 1937 were Josep Lluís Sert and Luis Lacasa, and José Gaos was the curator of the exhibition. The main artists were Picasso (Guernica), Miró (The Reaper, a work that has been lost)), Calder (Mercury Fountain) and González (Montserrat). They created some of the most relevant pieces in art history.

In this regard, Picasso commented: “Maybe, later on, some art historian will prove that my painting has changed because of the war. I myself don’t know”. According to Joan Miró’s grandson Joan Punyet Miró: “The Reaper and Guernica seemed political propaganda posters of monumental dimensions. Nobody chose a solid and durable support, because they knew in advance that those works were ephemeral, just to make an impact, and that they would finally disappear together with the pavilion.”

Furthermore, a reconstruction of The Reaper –approved by the Fundació Joan Miró of Barcelona- will be shown. Thus, the exhibition wishes to express, with the utmost enthusiasm and rigor, admiration for a group of brave artists who were committed to their ideals and their nation and who fought for them from their particular trenches: artistic creation.

The connection with London

The exhibition has an important archival and documentation section. Alongside Miró’s famous mural, it is going to show the involvement of the Artists International Association (an exhibiting society founded in London in 1933, which held exhibitions and events to promote and support various left-of-center political causes); they made many different activities to raise money for Spain.

It will illustrate how other British artists like Felicia Browne (the British artist who fought for the republican side in the Spanish Civil War and who died in combat) and Henri Moore were involved in the Republican cause and the struggle for democracy. Among all the documents, a poster designed by Henri Moore, “We ask your attention”, will be on display. The poster was created on the occasion of the Artists’ International Congress and Exhibition, and published by the Surrealist Group and printed by the Farleigh Press (T. U.), Watford, Herts in 1938.

Documentation from the tour exhibition of the Guernica by Picasso will also be shown, the very first stop of which took place in London at the New Burlington Galleries in 1938.

“Art Revolutionaries” has had the collaboration of the best experts in the field, as well as the support of the Successió Miró, the Calder Foundation, the Fundació Joan Miró of Barcelona, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía of Madrid, the CRAI (University of Barcelona), the Harvard Library, the Henry Moore Foundation and Instituto Cervantes London.

Santiago Díaz Bravo

Press Advisor
07783152211
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