The exhibition ‘Au rendez-vous des poètes. Picasso and the books’ presents more than a hundred pieces including drawings, engravings, illustrated books, photographs, posters and writings by the Malaga artist. A sample that is the result of extensive research carried out in the Documentation Center of the Birthplace and that offers a novel overview, revealing the relationship of Pablo Picasso with the literary world from a global perspective: as a creator of texts and, also, as an illustrator.
The sample was presented this Thursday at the temporary exhibition hall of the Museo Casa Natal Picasso, with the assistance of the mayor, Francisco de la Torre, together with the Councilor for Culture, Noelia Losada; the director of the Public Agency for the Management of Pablo Ruiz Picasso’s Birthplace and other Museum and Cultural Facilities, José María Luna; and the curator of the exhibition, Carlos Ferrer. The commercial director of Caixabank in Malaga, Córdoba, Jaén, Campo de Gibraltar, Ceuta and Melilla, Gerardo Cuartero, has also attended; and the territorial manager in Andalusia, Ceuta and Melilla of the “la Caixa” Foundation, Juan Carlos Barroso.
The exhibition, which is carried out thanks to the collaboration of the “la Caixa” Foundation, shows Picasso’s creative activity, which has always been marked by literature. From his youth he was surrounded by poets and writers, as well as being an avid reader.
Therefore, the viewer will be able to see how the Malaga artist enters the world of letters, even writing and sketching texts in periods in which painting was displaced into the background. Picasso wrote the phrase ‘Au rendez-vous des poètes’, that is to say, “meeting or meeting point of poets”, to welcome those who entered his workshop at the Bateau-Lavoir.
At the door of that room, as described by Apollinaire, the canvas was forged that would mark the destiny of modernity: ‘The young ladies of Avignon’.
‘Au rendez-vous des poètes. Picasso y los Libros’ is a chronological journey through this facet of the painter, from the pages of Sabartés or Reventós in Barcelona, through the space he shared with great figures of the Generation of ’98, such as Baroja, Azorín or Unamuno in Madrid before he turned 20 years old. His arrival and stay in Paris will be marked by his relationship with Max Jacob, Apollinaire and the American Gertrude Stein.
Other names that show his close relationship with literature are Rilke and his great friend Paul Eluard, who, in turn, encouraged him to participate in the sociopolitical reality of the 1930s, illustrating books starring the resistant Madeleine Riffaud, Nikos Beloyannis or Max Barel published in the magazine Los Papeles de Son Armadans. His works during these years are a sample of Picasso’s involvement with the political movements and social transformation of the time.
Continuing with this tour, in the successive rooms you can see illustrated works by Cocteau, Reverdy, Goll or Césaire, contributing his particular and structural vision of his works. Returning to the Spanish writers, Alberti and Cela occupy a prominent place in this exhibition. The painter inspired several works by the Cádiz poet and in the case of the Galician writer, he published the book ‘Drawings and Writings’ by the Malaga painter, following the instructions of Picasso himself.
The artist’s facet as a writer, with several of his works published in book format and others that were illustrated by himself, such as ‘Poems and lithographs’ and ‘The burial of the count of Orgaz’, are the perfect finishing touch to close this tour Picasso’s relationship with literature.