Photograph by wbaivon Flickr.
Franco, ten years Picasso s junior, Guernica painting died two years later, in 1975. He deserted his original idea and on May 1, 1937, began on Guernica.
The Basque left has repeatedly used imagery from the picture. In 1992 the painting was moved from the Museo del Prado to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Guernica painting both in Madrid, along with about two dozen preparatory works. Commissioned in 1955 by Nelson Rockefeller, and placed on loan to the United Nations by the Rockefeller estate in 1985, According to The Washington Times in 2003, the sequence was as follows: On March 17, 2009, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Marie Guernica painting Okabe announced that the Guernica tapestry had been moved to a gallery in London in advance of extensive renovations at UN Headquarters.
At Picasso s request the safekeeping of the piece was entrusted to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. During 25 April, Guernica painting many of the demoralized (Republican) troops from Marquina fell back on Guernica, which lay 10 kilometers behind the lines. Guernica was a quiet village.
This painting can be seen in the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. Art historian Patricia Failing said, The bull and the horse are important characters in Spanish culture.
These were usually peaceful and uneventful, but in 1974, Tony Shafrazi — ostensibly protesting Richard Nixon s pardon of William Calley for the latter s actions during the My Lai massacre — defaced the painting with red spray paint, painting the words KILL LIES ALL ; the paint was removed with relative ease from the varnished surface. As early as 1968, Franco had expressed an interest in having Guernica return to Spain. However, since that time there has never been any attempted vandalism or other security threat to the painting.
Picasso died in 1973. On completion Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed.
In the panel on which I am working, which I shall call Guernica, and in all my recent works of art, I clearly express my abhorrence of the military caste which has sunk Spain in an ocean of pain and death. However, according to scholar Beverly Ray the following list of interpretations reflects the general consensus of historians: Guernica is a town in Spain s Basque country. The Nationalists, led by General Francisco Franco, were also factionalized but to a lesser extent.
It would later attain its power as such a potent symbol of the destruction of war on innocent lives. Guernica was initially exhibited in July 1937 at the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris International Exposition. Also, women and children have often been presented by Picasso as the very perfection of mankind.
In Il Tempo the article had as its title Sensational Revelations Destroy a Myth . At about 16:30 on Monday, 26 April 1937, warplanes of the German Condor Legion, commanded by Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen, bombed Guernica for about two hours. The factory went through the attack unscathed.
Under great pressure from a number of observers, MOMA finally ceded the painting to Spain in 1981. The studies and photos were often loaned for other exhibitions, but until 1981, Guernica itself remained at MoMA. While living in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II, Picasso suffered harassment from the Gestapo.
Work on these illustrations began before the bombing of Guernica, and four additional panels were added, three of these relate directly to the Guernica mural. Picasso said as he worked on the mural: The Spanish struggle is the fight of reaction against the people, against freedom. The nearest military target of any consequence was a factory on the outskirts of the town, which manufactured various war products.
It then returned briefly to France; after the victory of Francisco Franco in Spain, the painting was sent to the United States to raise funds and support for Spanish refugees. A special gallery was built at the Reina Sofía to display Picasso s masterpiece to best advantage. When first displayed in Spain, the painting was placed at El Casón del Buen Retiro, an annex to the Prado that housed early nineteenth century paintings but had a large enough wall.
The Spanish historian Javier Tusell was one of the negotiators. During the 1970s, it was a symbol for Spaniards of both the end of the Franco regime and of Basque nationalism. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace.
The Guernica tapestry is the showcase piece for the grand reopening of the Whitechapel Gallery. In its present gallery, the painting has roughly the same protection as any other work at the Reina Sofía. Basque nationalists have advocated that the picture should be brought to the Basque country, A tapestry copy of Picasso s Guernica is displayed on the wall of the United Nations building in New York City, at the entrance to the Security Council room.
Picasso himself certainly used these characters to play many different roles over time. He later added other conditions, such as the restoration of public liberties and democratic institutions .
This has made the task of interpreting the specific meaning of the bull and the horse very tough. The Pavilion s entrance presented an enormous photographic mural of Republican soldiers accompanied by the slogan: The display of Guernica was accompanied by a poem by Paul Éluard, and the pavilion displayed works by Joan Miró and Alexander Calder, both of whom were sympathetic to the Republican cause. After the Paris Exhibition, the painting went on tour, first to the Scandinavian capitals, then to London, where it arrived on September 30, 1938, the same day the Munich Agreement was signed by the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany.
Furthermore, a majority of the town s men were away as they were fighting on behalf of the Republicans. Their relationship is a kind of ballet that was conceived in a variety of ways throughout Picasso s career. When pressed to explain them in Guernica, Picasso said, In The Dream and Lie of Franco, a series of narrative sketches also created for the World s Fair, Franco is depicted as a monster that first devours his own horse and later does battle with an angry bull.
It is interesting to note, however, that at its unveiling at the Paris Exhibition that summer, it garnered little attention. Thus, the town at the time of the bombing was populated mostly by women and children. These demographics are reflected in the painting because, as Rudolf Arnheim writes, for Picasso: The women and children make Guernica the image of innocent, defenseless humanity victimized.
Thus, the motivation of the bombing was clearly one of intimidation. How could anybody think for a moment that I could be in agreement with reaction and death? .
By this time, concern for the state of the painting resulted in a decision to keep it in one place: a room on MoMA s third floor, where it was accompanied by several of Picasso s preliminary studies and some of Dora Maar s photos. Later, intense aerial bombardment became a crucial preliminary step in the Blitzkrieg tactic. In his journal for 30 April 1937, von Richthofen wrote: This account contains striking discrepancies from other accounts that state that the town s inhabitants were in fact congregated in the center of town, as it was market day, and when the bombardment commenced, were unable to escape the inferno because the roads leading out of the center of the town were full of debris and the bridges leading out of town had been destroyed. Guernica s location was at a major crossroads 10 kilometers from the front lines and between the front lines and Bilbao, the capital of Bizkaia.
Picasso completed the painting by mid-June 1937. Guernica shows suffering people, animals, and buildings wrenched by violence and chaos. Interpretations of Guernica vary widely and contradict one another. The Pavilion, which was financed by the Spanish Republican government at the time of civil war, was built to exhibit the Spanish government s struggle for existence contrary to the Exposition s technology theme.
It then went on to Chicago and Philadelphia. Any Republican retreat towards Bilbao and any Nationalist advance towards Bilbao had to pass through Guernica.
The London exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery included preparatory studies and was organised by Roland Penrose with Clement Attlee addressing a public meeting. After Franco s death, Spain was transformed into a democratic constitutional monarchy, ratified by a new constitution in 1978.
Picasso s purpose in painting it was to bring to the world s attention the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica by German bombers, who were supporting the Nationalist forces of General Franco during the Spanish Civil War. At the time, he was working on a mural for the Paris Exhibition to be held in the summer of 1937, commissioned by the Spanish Republican government.
However, Picasso refused to allow this until the Spanish people again enjoyed a republic. Guernica is a painting by Pablo Picasso, depicting the bombing of Guernica, Basque Country, by German and Italian warplanes at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist forces, on April 26, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War.
My whole life as an artist has been nothing more than a continuous struggle against reaction and the death of art. Steer, who rushed to town, compiled his observations into an article that was published on April 28 in both The Times and The New York Times, and which on the 29th, appeared in L Humanité, a French Communist daily.
This extends, for example, to the mural s two dominant elements: the bull and the horse. This captivated his imagination unlike his previous idea, on which he had been working somewhat dispassionately, for a couple of months.
The Germans, who at this time were under Hitler s reign, were fighting in support of the Nationalists and using the war as an opportunity to test out new weapons and tactics. During the Spanish Civil War, it was regarded as the northern bastion of the Republican resistance movement and the epicenter of Basque culture, adding to its significance as a target. The Republican forces were made up of assorted factions (Communists, Socialists, Anarchists, to name a few) with wildly differing approaches to government and eventual aims, but a common opposition to the Nationalists.
An assault on women and children is, in Picasso s view, directed at the core of mankind. Clearly, the Nationalists sought to demoralize the Republicans and the civilian population as a whole by demonstrating their military might on a town that stood for traditional Basque culture and innocent civilians. After the bombing, it was through the work of the Basque and Republican sympathizer and London Times journalist George Steer that propelled this event onto the international scene and brought it to Pablo Picasso s attention. However, MOMA was reluctant to give up one of their greatest treasures and argued that a constitutional monarchy did not represent the republic that had been stipulated in Picasso s will as a condition for the painting s return.
It was kept behind bullet-proof glass and guarded with machine guns. They sought a return to the golden days of Spain, based on law, order, and traditional Catholic family values. An article exposing the red myth of Guernica by Jeffrey Hart of Dartmouth College was published in 1973 with the title The Guernica Fraud and reprinted in Die Welt and Il Tempo.
One officer allegedly asked him, upon seeing a photo of Guernica in his apartment, Did you do that? Picasso responded, No, you did. During the Vietnam War, the room containing the painting became the site of occasional anti-war vigils. This tour helped bring the Spanish Civil War to the world s attention. Guernica is blue, black and white, 3.5 metre (11 ft) tall and 7.8 metre (25.6 ft) wide, a mural-size canvas painted in oil.
Steer wrote: It was through this article that Picasso was made aware of what had gone on his country of origin. It formed the centerpiece of a Picasso retrospective at MoMA which opened six weeks after the Nazi invasion of Poland. Between 1939 and 1952, the painting traveled extensively in the United States; between 1953 and 1956 it was shown in Brazil, at the first-ever Picasso retrospective in Milan, Italy, and then in numerous other major European cities, before returning to MoMA for a retrospective celebrating Picasso s seventy-fifth birthday.
The Spanish Republican government commissioned Pablo Picasso to create a large mural for the Spanish display at the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (1937) Paris International Exposition in the 1937 World s Fair in Paris. Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians.