Museo Picasso Málaga
The Museo Picasso Málaga is a museum in Málaga, Andalusia, Spain, the city where artist Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born. It opened in 2003 in the Buenavista Palace, and has 285 works donated by members of Picasso's family. In 2009, the Fundación Paul, Christine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso that owned the collection merged with the Fundación Museo Picasso Málaga that operated the museum, which is based in the home on Málaga's Plaza de la Merced that was Picasso's birthplace, and is now the Museo Casa Natal ("Birthplace Museum"). The new merged foundation is the "Fundación Museo Picasso Málaga. Legado Paul, Christine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso" ("Museo Picasso Málaga Foundation. The Paul, Christine and Bernard Ruiz Picasso Legacy").
Founding and collection
The idea of a Picasso museum in the city of the artist's birth was first seriously discussed in 1953, during the Franco era. The artist was in touch with Juan Temboury Álvarez, the Provincial Delegate for Fine Arts in Málaga, and this very building was discussed as a possible site but nothing came of it. Christine Ruiz-Picasso, widow of the artist's eldest son Paul Ruiz-Picasso, worked with Málaga to help put on the exhibitions Picasso Clásico ("Classic Picasso") in 1992 and Picasso, primera mirada, ("Picasso, the first glimpse") in 1994. This led in 1996 to rekindling the idea of a major Picasso museum in Málaga. The museum opened 17 October 2003, with the king and queen of Spain in attendance.
Christine Ruiz-Picasso donated 14 paintings, 9 sculptures, 44 individual drawings, a sketchbook with a further 36 drawings, 58 engravings, and 7 ceramic pieces, 133 works in all. Her son, Picasso's grandson, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso donated another 5 paintings, 2 drawings, 10 engravings, and 5 ceramics, for an overall total of 155 works. The collection ranges from early academic studies to cubism to his late re-workings of Old Masters. Many additional pieces are on long-term loan to the museum. There is also a library and archive including over 800 titles on Picasso, as well as relevant documents and photographs.
The Buenavista Palace (Spanish: Palacio de Buenavista) was originally built in the first half of the 16th century for Diego de Cazalla, over the remains of a Nasrid palace of which some elements still survive. It was declared a National Monument in 1939 and housed a previous fine arts museum 1961–1997, when it was acquired with the intention of converting it into the present museum. Adjoining buildings were adapted and built before the 2003 opening. Besides the palace itself, the museum incorporates 18 houses from the old judería (Jewish quarter).
Taken as a whole—both the palace and other buildings—the museum has of 8,300 square metres (89,000 sq ft) of floor space. The museum makes major use of natural light, especially through skylights.
Conversion of the building
The conversion of the building for the Museo Picasso was a major undertaking, led by the American architect Richard Gluckman, along with Isabel Cámara and Rafael Martín Delgado. Gluckman was something of a known quantity in Málaga, having previously successfully remodeled the city's Episcopal Palace as an exhibition space. The project was budgeted at over 2,000 million pesetas, about US$20 million. The start of the project was delayed three months to get permission from the city for the existing buildings that would be demolished.
Gluckman originally considered a simple rehabilitation of the palace, but soon decided on a different course. The palace itself would not be big enough for the contemplated museum, and they went about acquiring adjacent buildings and land, and getting permission to incorporate or destroy various existing buildings. An initial plan was presented in July 1998; it was later expanded to include more space for a library/documentation center, an auditorium, and an educational department. The result was a decision to incorporate and refurbish several nearby historic buildings that were in disrepair. The ultimate design placed the modern buildings for offices and the new auditorium in and among a set of restored 18th and 19th century buildings.
The excavations for the work led to remarkable discoveries: remnants of a city wall and towers dating back to the Phoenicians, of a Roman factory to produce the fish-based sauce garum, and also of the earlier Nasrid palace on the same site. As a result, the basement is effectively an archeological museum in its own right, visible from above through transparent panels in the floor.
Many of the most difficult aspects of the conversion are precisely the ones that cannot be seen by the casual visitor. A purpose-built museum can take considerations of temperature, humidity, and cleanliness of air into account from the start of the design. When working with a 450-year-old palace, matters are not so simple, and are even more complex when one is resolved to change the ambience of the rooms—especially the exhibition halls—as little as possible. In particular ductwork must be well hidden, but running through the walls is also a very complicated matter, because one must not weaken the building's structure. This problem was solved in part through making air conditioning vents out of white marble slabs with pseudo-Mudéjar design elements, integrated into the walls. Similar techniques were applied to lighting considerations: modern technology in ancient disguise. In This approach of mixing the modern and the historical was put particularly to the test in March 2002, when a fire broke out, damaging three of the halls destined to be exhibition spaces. The damaged 16th century coffered ceilings were recreated by the Madrid-based Taujel company, combining traditional craftsmanship with computer design techniques.
Gluckman's firm received a 2005 Design Award from the American Institute of Architects for the project. Still, historian María Salinas Ruiz of Málaga was not at all pleased by the undertaking, criticizing the sacrifice of two houses with listed historical status and the major modifications to the palace itself, destroying "its marvelous spaces, its flooring, its winding passages and its fountains" that took such advantage of the light at different times of day. Others have spoken of how well the resulting galleries display Picasso's work.
Picasso and the Calle San Agustín
The Museo Picasso Málaga is only 200 metres (660 ft) from the Plaza de La Merced, where Picasso was born, and is located in the Calle San Agustín, to which Picasso and his family had no small connection. Although he moved away from Málaga at the age of 10, Picasso went to nursery school on that street, and his father José Ruiz Picasso was curator of the city museum in the old town hall, also on that street. That museum had an excellent collection of the city's main artists, but for budgetary reasons was seldom open to the public. Because of the same budgetary issues, part of the elder Picasso's compensation was space for his own painting studio, where the younger Picasso did some of his first artwork. Furthermore, from the windows of the new staircases added for the museum, one can see the tower of the church of Santiago, where Picasso was baptized.
- Fundación Picasso, which operates a second, smaller Picasso museum in Málaga
- List of museums in Spain
- Lebrero: «En el Museo Picasso hay mucho por descubrir», Diario Sur Digital. Part of the Canal Picasso series. Accessed online 2010-01-18.
- The Collection: History, Museo Picasso Málaga. Accessed online 2010-01-16.
- La Opinión de Málaga.es, La Junta aprueba el martes ceder la sede del Museo Picasso a su Fundación, 2009-01-30. Accessed online 2010-01-16.
- See also brief remark on the two foundations in Gonzalo Zanza/Pedro Corral, Málaga: principio y fin del siglo de Picasso, ABC (Madrid) 1999-11-06. Article begins on p. 31, link is to p. 33, which has the relevant passage.
- To know the Foundation, Fundación Picasso, official site. Accessed online 2010-01-16.
- Información, Museo Picasso Málaga. Accessed online 2010-01-17.
- The Creation of the "Museo Picasso Málaga Foundation. The Paul, Christine and Bernard Ruiz Picasso Legacy", Museo Picasso Málaga, Press release 2009-12-13. Accessed online 2010-01-17.
- Miguel Lorenci, Pablo Picasso vuelve, por fin, a su casa, La Verdad Digital (Murcia), 2003-10-29. Accessed online 2010-01-17.
- (Images of collection and pieces on long-term loan), Museo Picasso Málaga. Accessed online 2010-01-16.
- Introduction Library, Museo Picasso Málaga. Accessed online 2010-01-16.
- Sources disagree on precise dates. For example, Remedios García Rodríguez, Pasear por el centro de Málaga (2ª parte), Homines.com, portal of the Centro del Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, 2008-09-06, accessed online 2010-01-17, says "1530–1540".
Palacio de Buenavista, en Málaga, Diario Sur, 2007-08-02, accessed online 2010-01-17, says the first quarter of the 16th century.
About the Museo Picasso in Málaga, europeforvisitors.com, accessed online 2010-01-17, says "built between 1516 and 1542 by Jewish converts". Those same dates are given by Javier Caballero, La 'nueva casa' del maestro, El Mundo, 2003-10-04, reproduced on the site of the Online Picasso Project, accessed online 2010-01-18.
See the notes to Buenavista Palace (Málaga) for a more exhaustive list of sources on this topic.
- Palacio Condes de Buenavista, www.ISOCanda.org, 1998, reproduced on picasso.tamu.edu (the Online Picasso Project). Accessed online 2010-01-16.
- Architecture, Museo Picasso Málaga. Accessed online 2010-01-16.
- Javier Martín-Arroyo, La metamorfosis malagueña, El País, 2006-03-04. Accessed online 2010-01-17.
- Museo Picasso Málaga, Liceus.com. Accessed online 2010-01-17.
- Francisco Ramírez Viu, "El Museo Picasso en Málaga", Boletín Hispania Nostra, Number 87, October 2007, p. 9-12 (p. 8-11 of PDF). Accessed online 2010-01-18.
- Presentación del libro Arquitectura del Museo Picasso Málaga. Desde el siglo VI a.C. hasta el siglo XXI, patrocinado por Ferrovial, Museo Picasso Málaga, press release 2005-28-01. Accessed online 2010-01-17.
- Gonzalo Zanza/Pedro Corral, Málaga: principio y fin del siglo de Picasso, ABC (Madrid) 1999-11-06. Article begins on p. 31, link is to p. 33, which has the relevant passage.
- Pablo Ferrand, Cultura no puede edificar en el jardín para ampliar el Museo de Bellas Artes, ABC Valencia, 2003-12-21. Accessed online 2010-01-17. The article is mainly about a proposed enlargement of the Museo de Bellas Artes in Seville. The original of the quoted phrase from María Salinas Ruiz is "sus maravillosos espacios, su suelo, sus recovecos y sus fuentes".
- Isabel Cámara Guezala and Rafael Martín Delgado, El encuentro del pasado y el futuro, Diario Sur Digital. Part of the Canal Picasso series. Accessed online 2010-01-18.
- Simon Baskett, John Fisher, The rough guide to Spain, Rough Guides, 2004. ISBN 1-84353-261-1. p. 464-465.
- Museo Picasso - Málaga, Diario Sur Digital. Part of the Canal Picasso series. Accessed online 2010-01-18.
- Taujel, official site.
- The Architect Richard Gluckman Wins an Award from the American Institute of Architects for his design of the Museo Picasso Málaga, Museo Picasso Málaga, Press release 2005-10-18. Accessed online 2010-01-18.
- Places in Malaga associated with Picasso, Fundación Picasso. Accessed online 2010-01-17.
- (in English) Museo Picasso, official site. Includes images of most pieces in the collection
- (in Spanish) Canal Picasso, a very comprehensive series of articles about Picasso and the museum from Diario Sur Digital.
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