The year 2023 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of the famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. To celebrate his life, works, and artistic legacy, there will be 50 exhibitions and events to celebrate Picasso in France, Spain, and internationally in 2023. The transnational event, titled “Picasso Celebration 1973-2023”, is marked through a bi-national commission, bringing together diplomatic and cultural administrations of the French and Spanish governments.

Musée National Picasso-Paris 50 Year Celebration Events 2023
Musée National Picasso-Paris; Photo: Pablo Asenjo © Sucesión Pablo Picasso. VEGAP, 2022

The approximately fifty exhibitions and events will be held at renowned cultural institutions in North America and Europe which “address a historiographical analysis of Picasso’s work”. Accompanied by the festivities in France and Spain, the dedicated exhibition will make it possible to review research and interpretations of the artist’s work.

In addition to the recent exhibitions, an important international symposium will be held in autumn 2023 which coincides with the opening of the Center for Picasso Studies in Paris at the Musée National Picasso-Paris in the renovated spaces of the Hôtel de Rohan. The museum’s documentation, archives, and library will be brought together around a research center and digital portal that will make the Picasso Museum a unique reference point for researching the artist and his related fields.

The program is also supported by the Spanish National Commission for the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Death of Pablo Picasso. Other initiators of the Picasso Celebration 1973-2023 include Bernard Ruiz-Picasso (co-president of the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte) and José Guirao (former Minister and General Director of the Fundación Montemadrid who passed away in July 2022 and whose work will be continued by Mr. Carlos Alberdi).

Picasso was born in Malaga on October 25, 1881, and died in the French town of Mougins on April 8, 1973. His expressive, free, and multiform style continues to inspire contemporary art today. The exhibition aims to highlight an artist who had a deep knowledge of the heritage and principles of tradition and who projected universal symbols such as Guernica (today a symbol of the defense of human rights) throughout the world.

L’acrobate Painting, 1930, Musée National Picasso-Paris
L’acrobate, 1930, Musée National Picasso-Paris; Photo: © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée national Picasso-Paris) / Adrien Didierjean © Succession Picasso 2022

The program features many events, including the “Picasso and Prehistory” exhibition held at Musée de l’Homme-Muséum national d’histoire naturelle. This event shows to what extent prehistoric art influenced the works of Picasso, who was notably captivated by the discoveries of cave paintings, rock engravings, pieces of furniture, megalithic sites, and other Paleolithic Venus at the beginning of the 20th century. Featuring approximately forty paintings, sculptures, ceramics, drawings, and engraved pebbles by Picasso, this exhibition will be available until May 21, 2023.

In both Europe and the United States, the “Picasso Celebration 1973-2023” exhibitions and programs will highlight the artist’s accomplishments throughout the 20th century and his continued influence on 21st-century artists. The shows will do this by highlighting approaches such as Picasso’s global approach to the cultural heritage of Europe, covering masters such as El Greco,  Velázquez, Poussin, and Goya. Additionally, the exhibitions showcase Picasso’s need for constant evolution, his formative years, his period of formation, the year of “great transformation” in 1906, the latest research and current reconception of his work, and more.

The celebrations throughout the year will culminate in a major international symposium running from December 6th-8th, 2023 at Unesco in Paris. This symposium will bring together all of the year’s partners and participants (research centers, museum institutions, researchers, art historians, curators, conservators, etc.) for “Picasso in the 21st Century: Historical and Cultural issues”.