Pablo Picasso Tauromachy

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Pablo Picasso

Tauromachy

19.04.2013 - 07.09.2013

It was published in 1959 by Gustau Gili, as part of his Ediciones de la Cometa collection. José Delgado (Seville, 1754 – Madrid, 1801) was a bullfighter and also author of the treatise La Tauromaquia o Arte de Torear [Tauromachy or the Art of Bullfighting] published in Cádiz in 1796.

Picasso’s series of aquatints set out the sequence of steps in a bullfight, from the picture of the bulls lying down in a meadow to the bullfighter being gored in the bullring. In each of them the artist reduces the tension of the spectacle by stylising the figures of the bulls, picadors and bullfighters with extremely subtle dynamic movement; and his fast, tense hand testifies to the action in the bullring.

The process for publishing La Tauromaquia got under way in 1926, when Gustau Gili i Roig contacted Pablo Picasso to offer him the opportunity to illustrate one of the new books in his Ediciones de la Cometa collection. After a flurry of letters and a series of interviews, Picasso agreed to illustrate the book on the art of bullfighting written centuries before by José Delgado, very probably inspired by the bullfighting etchings by Goya, whom Picasso deeply admired.

The publishing process came to a halt for no apparent reason in 1930 and it was only almost thirty years later, in 1956, that Gustau Gili i Esteve picked up the conversations with Picasso to complete the project begun by his father.

The ties between Gustau Gili i Esteve and Picasso were more than strictly professional and their friendship grew stronger over the years. Gili played a key role in helping set up the Picasso Museum in Barcelona in 1963 and in Jacqueline Picasso’s later donation of a sizeable amount of the artist’s work to the museum’s collections.

This exhibition at the Fundació Suñol pays tribute to Pablo Picasso forty years after his death. It aimed to reveal his extraordinary ability to absorb and turn a personal experience into something universal.

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