The personal relations between Picasso and Barcelona started at the end of the 19th century and remained alive until his death. Barcelona became an important nexus in the life of Picasso, not only in his training, but also in his revelation as an artist. Picasso was from Malaga by birth, but in 1895, when he was only 14 years old, he arrived in Barcelona with his family, where he had an almost permanent residence until 1904. They were nine years; the years of his academic training, the hatching of his adolescence, the forming of his character, and the first step of his ascension as an artist in a Barcelona immersed in a dense intellectual world and in passionate ideological and social fights. During these years Picasso created an artistic circle and of friends that he would maintain forever and that would tie him definitively to the city. Sensitive to the memory of Barcelona, after leaving definitively for Paris in 1904, he would conserve a profound affection for the city, which he manifested repeatedly through stays in the city to visit family and friends, with repeated and magnificent donations of works and with some monographic exhibitions. But without any doubt whatsoever, the most evident sign of his affective link with the city of Barcelona was the creation of the Museu Picasso of Barcelona. Created at the wish of Picasso, it was the result of the convergence of the efforts and will of a collective; first of all, of his personal secretary and great friend Jaume Sabartés,
but also of his appreciated wife Jacqueline Picasso, of the Barcelona society that admired the figure of Picasso so much, and very especially, of the City Council of Barcelona, which was fully immersed in Franco’s regime, made a strong commitment and acted with the necessary discretion to make the dream come true of the artist: a monographic museum in the city that he loved so much.
With this talk, I would like to emphasise something basic so as to understand the Museu Picasso of Barcelona and, by extension, a part of the life and work of Picasso: the ties between Picasso and the city, a bond that the artist would maintain and make reality, with great generosity, until his death in 1973. The presentation will explain in a brief but concise way, those events that help to explain these ties, and obviously will give special attention to the creation of the Museu Picasso de Barcelona and the leadership of the artist in this process.