With the 50th anniversary of Picasso's death next year, France and Spain will partner to organize a two-year series of cultural events across Europe and the United States dedicated to the artist's legacy. Museums in Spain, France, the United States, Germany, Switzerland and Monaco are taking part in the preparations. Entities include the Prado Museum, the Picasso museums Barcelona, Malaga and Paris, the MoMa in New York and the Kunstmuseum in Basel.
Together, France and Spain created a commission of leaders in the cultural space to spearhead the event, which has been dubbed “The Celebration of Picasso 1973-2023”.
At the head of the commission is Cécile Debray, president of the Musée Picasso Paris. She will work alongside the artist's grandson – Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, who founded a museum dedicated to the artist in Andalusia.
The agreement for holding the series of events was signed during the last edition of the Franco-Spanish Summit, a forum that aims to strengthen diplomatic ties between neighboring countries. As part of the agenda for the talks that took place on March 15 in the French province of Montauban, members of both governments addressed issues related to sustainability, immigration and defense. They also addressed issues related to the cultural sectors of both countries, which are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic.
According to a statement released by the French Ministry of Culture, the commission responsible for the series of transnational events was created to promote Picasso as an artist “who embodies the founding principles of Europe, composed of democratic states, defenders of human rights and freedom of expression".
The statement cited the famous painting by Guernica (1937), currently kept at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid as an “anti-war symbol”.
In February, members of the European Union government symbolically posed in front of the tapestry version of the painting that has long hung at United Nations headquarters in New York. The photograph was intended to signal support for the end of war in Ukraine.
In a statement, spokespersons for the French and Spanish ministries of culture and foreign affairs said their Picasso project aims to be "one of the main European and international cultural events in the coming years".