In a report from 1 August 1957, La Vanguardia quoted Picasso as exclaiming: “How is it possible that this could have been done before I came onto the scene?”, when he saw the selection of 18th- and 19th- century ceramics in the La ceràmique espagnole, du XIIIème siècle à nos jours exhibition at the Palais Miramar in Cannes, in the spring of that year.
This admiration, and his meeting with Lluís Maria Llubià, spurred Picasso to donate 16 ceramic works to the Barcelona Museums of Art. The ceramics are currently part of the Barcelona Design Museum collection. Picasso only laid down one condition for the donation: that “they are displayed alongside a major collection owned by said museums” (donation document, 26 April 1957).
To mark Celebración Picasso 1973-2023 (on the 50th anniversary of the artist’s death) the Barcelona Design Museum is proposing to honour this wish by displaying all the 16 works he donated, in dialogue with the museum’s historical ceramic collection. We will also tell the story behind the donation to the Barcelona Museums of Art, spurred by the Spanish ceramic exhibition held in Cannes in 1957. This will be the starting point for our exhibition, in which we will journey through history to the present day, providing a take on what Picasso saw at the original exhibition, as well as fulfilling his wish to establish a relationship between his work and traditional ceramics.
This may well be a story unknown to many in Barcelona, a tale of Picasso’s esteem for the museums in his city and his own vision of his work as a continuation of the Spanish ceramic tradition.
Exhibition organised with the support of the National Commission for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the death of Pablo Picasso.
Telefónica collaborating company of the Picasso Celebration 1973-2023 in Spain.
Isabel Fernández del Moral