Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Making of a Masterpiece: Picasso and Guernica

The Art, Music and Recreation Center will present an exhibit “The Making of a Masterpiece: Picasso” on the 4th floor of the Main Library from November 3, 2007 through January 3, 2008. This exhibit marks the 70th anniversary of one of the most powerful anti-war statements of the 20th century. We will feature the library's recent acquisition of a special limited-edition Picasso publication which offers exact facsimiles of each of the drawings rendered by Picasso in preparation of his 1937 masterpiece "Guernica." Each drawing has been reproduced precisely in the same size and on the same kind of paper as the original. Insights into the artist's creative processes will be included, along with historical accounts of the Spanish Civil War which set the works in perspective.

Famed war correspondent George Lowther Steer wrote the following about the aftermath of the bombing by of the town by the German Luftwaffe on April 26, 1937:

“In the form of its execution and the scale of the destruction it wrought, no less than in the selection of its objective, the raid on Guernica is unparalleled in military history. Guernica was not a military objective. A factory producing war material lay outside the town and was untouched. So were two barracks some distance from the town. The town lay far behind the lines. The object of the bombardment was seemingly the demoralization of the civil population and the destruction of the cradle of the Basque race. Every fact bears out this appreciation. . .” (The London Times, 27 April 1937, p. 14.)

Art scholar Christian Zervos wrote of Picasso’s depiction of this atrocity:

In Guernica, expressed in the most striking manner, is a world of despair, where death is everywhere; everywhere is crime, chaos, and desolation; disaster more violent than lightning, flood, and hurricane, for everything there is hostile, uncontrollable, beyond understanding, whence rise the heart-rending cries of beings dying because of men’s cruelty. From Picasso’s paintbrush explode phantoms of distress, anguish, terror, insurmountable pain, massacres, and finally peace found in death. (Cahiers d’Art 12, 1937)

The library offers the follow titles for those wishing to further research Picasso’s Guernica.

Arnheim, Rudolf. The Genesis of a Painting: Picasso's Guernica. (1962/1980).

Blunt, Anthony. Picasso's 'Guernica'. (1969).

Chipp, Herschel Browning. Picasso's Guernica: History, Transformations, Meanings. (1988).

Fisch, Eberhard. Guernica by Picasso: A Study of the Picture and its Contexts. (1988).

Larrea, Juan. Guernica, Pablo Picasso. Introd. by Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Translated by Alexander H. Krappe. Edited by Walter Pach. (1969).

Martin, Russell. Picasso's War: The Destruction of Guernica and the Masterpiece that Changed the World. (2003).

Oppler, Ellen C. Picasso's Guernica: Illustrations, Introductory Essay, Documents, Poetry, Criticism, Analysis. (1988).

Puente, Joaquín de la. Guernica: The Making of a Painting. (1983).

Van Hensbergen, Gijs. Guernica: The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon. (2004).

Update: The exhibit will be taken down on January 11, 2008. There is a very simple video documentation of this exhibit consisting of five short videos uploaded to Google video.

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