MADRID, Spain, May 12, 2006 – Art lovers will want to put Spain on their travel wish list this summer. Beginning June 6, two of the country’s leading museums are mounting a major retrospective of the work of “Spain’s most important 20th century artist,” “Picasso: Tradition and Avant-garde.” Timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the return of Guernica to Spain and the 125th anniversary of the artist’s birth – more than fifty masterpieces by Pablo Picasso – many never before exhibited in Spain – will be on view at the Museo Nacional del Prado and the Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofía through September 3.  Every stage of Picasso’s career will be represented, allowing for an overview of the most important phases from the Blue and Pink Periods to Cubism and Surrealism and the difficult years between the Spanish Civil War and World War continuing up to the fertile last decades.

      Starting at the Prado’s Central Gallery, the exhibition will present a dialogue between Picasso and the past with La Vie (1902) from the Cleveland Museum of Art; Boy Leading a Horse (1906) from New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); Bread and Fruit Dish with Fruit on a Table (1908-1909) and L’Aficionado (1912) from Basel’s Kunstmuseum; Self-portrait with Palette (1906) and Three Musicians (1942) from the Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Pan Pipes (1923) from the Musée Picasso, Paris; L’Aubade (1942) from Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and Las Meninas (1957) from Barcelona’s Museu Picasso.      

      Offering a different perspective, the Reina Sofía’s exhibition focuses on Guernica and its legacy emphasizing the artist’s response to modern warfare including: The Charnel House (1945) from MoMA and Massacre in Korea (1951) from the Musée Picasso, Paris.  Reinforcing the condemnation of violence, Goya’s The Shooting of the Third of May will be shown alongside Guernica offering an inimitable image of the disasters of war. As the director of the Prado during the Spanish Civil War, Picasso refused to have Guernica displayed in Spain during Franco’s time.  In 1981 the Museum of Modern Art returned the work to the Prado and subsequently the painting was given to the Reina Sofía where it can be viewed today. 

      Picasso: Tradition and Avant-garde” is being sponsored by Fundación Winterthur and co-produced by the Sociedad Estatat de Conmemoraciones Culturales (SECC). Curated by Carmen Giménez and Francisco Calvo Serraller, the show has an honorary committee whose presidents are Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain and includes government representatives, Picasso’s heirs of Picasso and the leading cultural institutions that house Picasso’s works.

      The Prado Museum is located on Paseo del Prado (www.museoprado.es) and is open daily, except Mondays, from 9 AM to 8 PM.  Tickets are about $7.65 or 6 euros, except Sundays, when it is free. The Reina Sofía’s main building, at Calle Santa Isabel, 52, is open six days a week, Mondays to Saturdays from 10 AM to 9 PM and Sundays from 10 AM to 2:30 PM. (Closed Tuesdays.)  A ticket costs about $7.65 or 6 euros and admission is free on Saturdays from 2:30 PM to 9 PM and on Sundays from 10 AM to 2:30 PM. (www.museoreinasofia.es) Children under 18 and seniors over 65 are admitted free to both museums.

      Two other Spanish cities – Malaga and Barcelona – are also commemorating Picasso with year-long programs of exhibitions, operas, ballets, special lectures, workshops and activities for children and families running through February 2007. The Museo Picasso Málaga will present three shows in honor of that city’s most famous native son along with film screenings and art workshops for children and Barcelona will host three exhibitions, three ballets and several concerts to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the artist’s return to that city.

Go to www.museupicasso.bcn.es and (www.museopicassomalaga.org).

      For information about traveling to Spain go to www.spain.info