Location: Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia, Spain
Exhibition dates: from March 29, 2019 until September 1, 2019
Organized by: Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia
Curator: Juan García Sandoval, museologist, curator and art critic.
This exhibition presents the relationship of a story of friendship between two geniuses, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Camilo José Cela (1916-2002), between the most important and influential artist of the twentieth century and our Nobel Prize for Literature, two exceptional figures in our contemporary history and culture. In it you can contemplate some documents and images that visually symbolize the ingenious and fruitful threads that united them in those years of relationship, the memory of moments that lived with delightful complicity, and gave rise to several collaborations and common projects that are now universal heritage.
The legacy is made of over a hundred writings. From a selection of documents at the exhibition we can deduce the encounters and the relationship between the two exceptional characters, the painter and the writer. It could be an attractive argument for a story, it is an encounter, the fruit of an extraordinary sensitivity. Cela managed to attract Picasso in a reciprocal seduction, the communication of the written word, on one hand, and the ineffable light of the artist from Malaga, on the other. From the documentation, the photographs stand out, where Picasso and Cela appear on their visits to the French Riviera, as well as several images dedicated to Picasso's CJC, immortalize the various encounters.
In the exhibition, the drawings with colored waxes on paper, dedicated by Picasso to CJC, to Charo, and his family on 11 May 1961, stand out. They constitute, on the one hand, a personal artistic memory and, at the same time, are witnesses of the encounter and coexistence between the genius and the human nature of its protagonists; they are undoubtedly signs of affection. Also noteworthy are the books produced between Cela and Picasso, the linóleos or the dry point Rapto de Jezabel by Quirón el Centauro (1962), as well as a series of extraordinary ceramics by Picasso, which shows one of his most creative and least known facets.
The exhibition, consisting of several areas, narrates the meeting with Picasso in La Californie, Cannes; and continuing through areas dedicated to the fruits of the correlation between the two geniuses, was the publication of a tribute to Picasso and an extraordinary issue in PSA, Papeles de Son Armadans (1960), through which many of the key Spanish creators of the 20th century passed. The books created by the two geniuses, the Picasso poem Trozo de piel (1959), composed of ten lyrical compositions by Picasso with surrealist touches, and a drawing by Cela published in the first edition of poems VII, VIII and IXin 1960. The work as a whole, with texts and drawings of both, Drawings and Writings (1961), and the Gavilla de fábulas sin amor (1962), with its 36 illustrations, signed by Picasso. The artist took as models those friends who listened to his poems (those of Picasso included in Trozo de piel), there is the caricature of Cela crowned with thorns in the drawing entitled C.J.C. or El amigo, or the semblant of the poet Jaime Sabartés (1881-1968), among others.
Picasso-Cela: drawings, writings and ceramics, shown at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Valencia, lets us glimpse the spirit of these two geniuses, is an invitation for imagination and exploration of documents, for the curious gaze and, thus, to enjoy so much creativity and sensitivity that is perceived in the artworks and writings, and that offer us the opportunity to reflect on Picasso and CJC. The project has had the collaboration of the foundations of the artist Cristóbal Gabarrón in Spain and the United States, as well as the Charo Foundation and Camilo José Cela.
Texts: Camilo José Cela Conde and Juan Gª Sandoval