Picasso: Home at Last

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Byline: SINIKKA TARVAINEN

MALAGA (dpa) More than 30 years after his death, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) is finally coming home to his beloved and despised Spain.

The inauguration of a Picasso Museum in his native city of Malaga on Monday, October 27, will enable Spain to definitively reclaim its most famous artist who many Spaniards felt had been stolen by his other home country, France.

The presence of what is regarded as the worlds third most important Picasso Museum after Paris and Barcelona will no longer allow anyone to disdain the ties which link Picassos memory to his country of origin, the daily El Pais wrote.

The museum comprising 204 works donated or lent by Picassos daughter-in-law and her son will fulfill a long-time dream of the late artist, who wanted to bring his paintings to Malaga despite saying that he preferred France to Spain.

It was in the Andalusian coastal city that Picasso was born, spent the first decade of his life, and began his life-long voyage into the world of art under the guidance of his father, an art teacher and amateur painter.

The family then moved to La Coruna on the northwestern coast and later to Barcelona, where Picasso studied art and had his Blue Period (1901-04).

At age 23, the future founder of Cubism moved to Paris, a city which he saw as a haven of artistic and social freedom in comparison with conservative Spain.

In France I can breathe, Picasso once said.

After the victory of General Francisco Franco in the 1936-39 Civil War, Picasso vowed not to step on Spanish soil as long as the Fascists were in power.

He kept his word until his death, but he remained profoundly Spanish in many ways, from his circle of Spanish friends to his enthusiasm for bullfighting and relish for amorous conquests.

Picassos art also shows the influence of Spanish masters such as El Greco, Goya and Velazquez, and contains Spanish motifs such as guitars or bulls.

In 1953, Picasso received a letter from a well-known cultural personality in Malaga, who complained that the native city of the genial artist only had one of his paintings and suggested that Picasso donate works for a museum.

Picasso was clearly moved by the letter, the artists daughter-in-law Christine Ruiz-Picasso said in an interview with El Pais. …