The Foundation Pablo Ruiz Picasso is structured in the form of a triple hub consisting of a Reference centre with material from international sources, specialized in Picasso, the organization of multi-disciplinary activities, designed to spread information about contemporary art taking as its reference point the figure of Picasso, around which all the activities are organized, and finally, the Birthplace Museum, which is the heart of the institution and which is responsible for establishing it as a tourist attraction on a worldwide ranking of the first order.
During the first twenty years of its existence, the Foundation has held more than 100 art exhibitions, organized more than 150 conferences on Picasso and the contemporary creative art scene, given by national and international experts in the field, organized 150 lectures on the Málaga-born artist in teaching and community centres in Málaga, published catalogues and books that have exceeded 100 volumes, held fourteen editions of the Pablo Ruiz Picasso Grant for the Expressive Arts, seven sessions of the Aula Picasso, which runs a monographic course on Picasso, with a more specific focus on the international scene, and organized to coincide every year with the anniversary of Picasso’s birth, twenty one Picasso October venues, offering a rich and varied range of cultural activities centering on the figure of Picasso and elements relating to the artist.
When the Foundation Pablo Ruiz Picasso opened its doors to the public in 1988, it did not have at that time any works of art in its possession nor did its priorities include forming a collection. However, during the twenty years it has been in existence, the Foundation Pablo Picasso has managed to assemble a collection of art works comprising more than four thousand pieces from more than 200 different artists. To search for the origins of this collection is to trace the history of the Foundation itself. The fact that it is located in the Birthplace of Pablo Picasso has encouraged those who have intimate links to the artist to express their interest and support for the institution, which they have demonstrated by making donations of art works; such is the case with Marina Picasso, the painter’s grand-daughter who, a year after the public inauguration of the Birthplace Museum, donated a portfolio containing original engravings by Picasso entitled “Sueño y Mentira de Franco” (Dream and Lie of Franco), etching and aquatint, in 1937, in which irony and biting criticism combine forces around an iconography that forebodes the emblematic work “Guernica”. Similarly, one of the donations that undoubtedly marks a key note in the collection comes from Christine Picasso, the artist’s daughter-in-law who, on one of her first visits to Málaga, in October 1992, and with her thoughts probably already turning towards the idea of a future museum in our city, brought with her ten books illustrated with original graphic work. This is a magnificent collection which perfectly demonstrates Picasso’s mastery of the different techniques of engraving and the approaches he was making towards the world of literature. The journey through the graphic work of Picasso is extended thanks to successive acquisitions, by which our aim is to offer the visitor a general view of different periods, styles and techniques relating to the Malaga-born artist in the form of a notable collection of graphic work produced by Picasso between the years 1905 and 1971, which has been increasing from year to year until becoming one of the most complete and varied collections in the country. Added to this diverse collection of engravings, which includes several hundred works, and worthy of mention, is the interesting selection of ceramic artistry, in which we find the artist’s favourite themes. Also, the Fundación possesses some works of a sentimental nature which are related to the artist’s biography, donated by his sister’s children, the Vilató family. Here we find a close and intimate Picasso emerging from a collection of images taken of the Málaga-born artist by the photographer of Hungarian origin, Juan Gyenes, who visited Picasso in 1953, 1957 and 1961.
The testimonial value of this collection is thrilling and offers us images of the painter in his daily life, at work, in his studio-workshop, with his family… But without a doubt, the crowning glory of the Foundations’ collections is drawing book nº 7, containing preparatory sketches made by Picasso for his 1907 masterpiece: Las Señoritas de Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon). Drawing book nº 7 is one of 16 drawing books and several individual sketches that Picasso made as preparatory work for the painting that was to mark the origin of Cubism. Amongst the 60 sheets of white lined paper, while in Paris between the months of May and June 1907, the artist produced a total of 84 drawings using China ink, graphite pencil and red gouache. The subjects of these drawings, treated in an abundant variety of forms, are animal profiles, amongst which the most notable examples are an eagle that occupies the cover and the first pages, female nudes that undergo a process of increasing schematization in which the figures resemble models of African art, “Catalonian Castellers”, which constitutes the only known appearance of this element in the corpus of Picasso’s works, rough sketches of still life subjects treated in a proto-Cubist manner and a portrait of Raimonde, the little girl he adopted for a time while living with Fernande Olivier. This wealth of iconographic material which combines his desires to innovate with adherence to Catalonian traditions and the presence of close and intimate references, converts this painting into a fascinating repertoire of Picasso’s works at a key and decisive point in his artistic development.
Apart from its fund of works strictly relating to Picasso, the Foundation is also the owner of an important collection of contemporary art by Malaga artists as well as a broad selection made up of more than 2,500 works, of Spanish and International graphic work of the 20th Century with artists such as Miró, Christo, Francis Bacon, Joan Brossa, Max Ernst. Tapiès, Chillida, Perejaume, Jaume Plensa, Dokoupil, Guayasamin, Guiovart, Wifredo Lam, Matta, Henry Moore, Equipo Cronica, Pablo Palazuelo, Mompo, Eduardo Arroyo, Canogar, Manuel Rivera, Arman, Alfonso Albacete, Manuel Quejido or Marc Chagall. STUDY OF VISITS During 2007, the Foundation Picasso-Birthplace Museum received 101,273 visitors. The range of visitors showed that 50% are European, the most common nationalities being English, German, French and Italian. Spanish visitors make up 34% of which 20% come from Andalusia and 12% are from Málaga. The rest are divided up with 8% belonging to the American Continent, 7% of Asiatic nationality and 1% from other countries. During 2008 we have received 122.000 visitors.
Picasso's Birth House
It was almost a century after the Ruiz Picasso family was to leave the building currently occupying nº 15 of the Plaza de la Merced in the city of Málaga, when on the 25th March 1983 the property would be declared a Historical- Artistic monument of National Interest.
However, it was not until the 26th February 1988 that the Málaga City Council would set up the Foundation Pablo Ruiz Picasso, with its headquarters located in the house where the Málaga artist was born. During those initial years, the Foundation occupied only the first floor flat, precisely the place where Picasso was to be born on the 25th October 1881, in that historic building.
It was almost a century after the Ruiz Picasso family was to leave the building currently occupying nº 15 of the Plaza de la Merced in the city of Málaga, when on the 25th March 1983 the property would be declared a Historical- Artistic monument of National Interest. However, it was not until the 26th February 1988 that the Málaga City Council would set up the Foundation Pablo Ruiz Picasso, with its headquarters located in the house where the Málaga artist was born. During those initial years, the Foundation occupied only the first floor flat, precisely the place where Picasso was to be born on the 25th October 1881, in that historic building.
That space was to house together a small museum, a functions room, a reference centre and the offices of the Foundation. Despite having to operate from modest installations, the Birthplace was officially admitted into the Spanish Museum System by the Ministry of Culture on the 20th February 1991, whilst receiving from the very moment of its public opening, the support and friendship of the Picasso family, shortly after to be demonstrated in the form of donations.
As a result of the increase in its activities and the rise in the number of visitors to its installations, the Foundation Pablo Ruiz Picasso closed its doors to the public in order to carry out comprehensive renovation work on the Birthplace building, the culmination of which was the reinauguration by their Royal Majesties King Juan Carlos the First and Queen Sofia, on the 22nd June 1998. Thanks to this renovation project, the Foundation, by extending its premises to occupy the whole building, was able to increase the surface area of its installations five-fold whilst raising the number and the quality of its activities and bringing about a significant increase in the number of art works comprising its collection.
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