2 February 2024

VSfifty years after his death, with dozens of exhibitions planned in more than twenty countries, Picasso has become an indisputable and overwhelming “artist-world”. It is in September 2022, in Madrid, not far from its Guernicathat this year of celebrations has been officially launched.

Here is therefore today Picasso praised by the institutions, made statues by the ministers, but also presented as an object open to all disputes, within the framework of the seminar organized by Cécile Debray at the National Picasso Museum in Paris. Is it really a coincidence that such a familiar personality still stimulates our imaginations so much? And how does his work, which has already inspired a plethora of comments, still endure today as a source of reference for so many contemporary artists?

The revelation of his difficult status as a foreigner in France provoked, three years ago, fascinating discussions in the country where Picasso lived from the year 1900 until his death. Today, it is to the whole world that this unprecedented image of a fragile, resilient and strategist Picasso has become accessible in the face of behaviors of exclusion or hostility towards him.

“The arrogance of genius”

Who knows that the young 19-year-old racing car, convinced of his talent, who landed in Paris to build his career, entered there as a subordinate, through the narrow door of the Catalans of Montmartre, before seeing himself “registered as an anarchist” by the police as early as 1901? Very heavy suspicion in a country barely out of the Dreyfus affair, where, just a few years earlier, the President of the Republic had been assassinated by a young Italian anarchist!

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Later, for decades, his radically innovative work found no place in national collections. But the artist with a sunny, vocal, extroverted personality never exhibited any of his weaknesses in public: he worked and persisted in building his networks in the interstices of French society.

Perhaps the most fascinating period is that of his Cubist years (1907-1914). With the help of Georges Braque, in a radical break with tradition, it functioned as a sounding board for its time, at the crossroads of all the revolutions of the 20th century.e century – literature, philosophy, science, photography, cinema – and proposed new configurations between “noble” artistic forms and “minor” artistic forms, in a production that said the end of old Europe. His most radical advances were immediately recognized by other expatriates like him, who, from Prague to Moscow and Munich to New York, celebrated his talent as a “alternative to the standard of taste”.

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