Picasso’s Studio, Paris 1936-1955 “Grenier des Grands Augustins”
Picasso moved into a new studio in the attic of 7, rue des Grands-Augustins, which Dora Maar found for him in early 1937.
Probably Picasso’s most famous work, Guernica is certainly the his most powerful political statement, painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazi’s devastating casual bombing practice on the Basque town of Guernica during Spanish Civil War.
Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace. On completion Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour helped bring the Spanish Civil War to the world’s attention.
This work is seen as an amalgmation of pastoral and epic styles. The discarding of color intensifis the drama, producing a reportage quality as in a photographic record. Guernica is blue, black and white, 3.5 metre (11 ft) tall and 7.8 metre (25.6 ft) wide, a mural-size canvas painted in oil. This painting can be seen in the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.
Interpretations of Guernica vary widely and contradict one another. This extends, for example, to the mural’s two dominant elements: the bull and the horse. Art historian Patricia Failing said, “The bull and the horse are important characters in Spanish culture. Picasso himself certainly used these characters to play many different roles over time. This has made the task of interpreting the specific meaning of the bull and the horse very tough. Their relationship is a kind of ballet that was conceived in a variety of ways throughout Picasso’s career.”
The future of Pablo Picasso’s former Paris studio has been up in the air. In case you aren’t familiar with the Grenier des Grands Augustins, it’s the very spot Picasso painted his famous Guernica painting, and it was basically his home from 1937 until 1955. Situated in the attic of 17th-century Hotel de Savoie, the workspace had been occupied by the Association du Comité National pour l’Éducation Artistique or CNEA for years. The French art organization utilized the space to host free art exhibitions, concerts, readings, and educational workshops. Then in August of last year, the studio’s legal owners, the Chamber of Legal Bailiffs, decided to evict CNEA from the premises, resulting in an ongoing legal battle. Now, the Chamber allegedly wants to convert Picasso’s former studio into a luxury hotel. Needless to say, this recent development has got the art world in a tizzy. Several prominent figures in the art scene have written open letters to France’s prime minister and Paris’ mayor, urging them to save the Grenier des Grands Augustins.
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