Saad Guerraoui is a regular contributor to The Arab Weekly on Maghreb issues.

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  • Face à Picasso: Best of legendary artist exhibited in Rabat

    'There is a real chronological representation of Picasso’s artistic career.” Mehdi Qotbi, president of the National Museums Foundation.

    Off to a great start. Women look at a painting by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso ahead of an exhibition in the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat, on April 12. (AFP)

    2017/05/21 Issue: 107 Page: 22

    Rabat - More than 100 works of legendary Spanish artist Pablo Picasso are featured in the Face à Picasso — Fac­ing Picasso — exhibition at the Mo­hammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat (MMVI).

    The programme was to begin April 19 but the success of the Af­rique en Capitale exhibition led to a delay in the opening until May 15 when it was inaugurated by Prin­cess Lalla Salma. Face à Picasso will run through July 31.

    Mehdi Qotbi, president of the Na­tional Museums Foundation said the Picasso exhibition was off to a great start.

    “As we speak, more than 400 visi­tors came this morning with three to four schools per day asking to visit the museum in the near fu­ture. Imagine how it will be like on the weekend,” said Qotbi.

    The 115 pieces on display depict some of Picasso’s best, from his teen years until his last self-por­traits.

    Picasso is one of the most iconic artists of all time and known for co-founding the Cubist movement. Painter, printmaker, ceramicist, sculptor, stage designer, poet and playwright, Picasso created more than 60,000 works of art before he died in 1973 at the age of 91 in France, where he spent most of his adult life.

    Laurent Le Bon, president of the Picasso Museum in Paris, said the best of Picasso was being exhibited in Rabat.

    “I think if you want to discover the diversity, the genius of Picasso, you must come to Mohammed VI Museum,” Le Bon said.

    The exhibition opens with a painting that Picasso finished at the age of 14 (“The Barefoot Girl” 1895) and finishes with one of his last art­works (“The Young Painter,” 1972).

    Others exhibited works from the collections of the Picasso-Paris Mu­seum include “The Kitchen” (1948), “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” (1906- 07), “Woman with Clasped Hands” (1907), “Seated Nude” (1909), “Reading” (1932), “Pregnant Wom­an” (1959), sculptures, photographs and ceramics.

    “There is a real chronological representation of Picasso’s artistic career throughout all his life,” Qotbi said.

    The $20 million Mohammed VI Museum opened in October 2014 as part of King Mohammed VI’s desire to promote culture as a catalyst for human, social and economic devel­opment as well as his determina­tion to provide Morocco with top-notch cultural facilities that foster creativity.

    Last year, the museum hosted a retrospective of Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti’s sculptures, paintings and drawings. Giacometti is consid­ered one of the most talented art­ists of the 20th century.

    Qotbi pointed to the king’s sup­port in making the best of art avail­able in Morocco.

    “The country’s development is measured by its cultures and exhi­bitions in its museums. When we see today Morocco is capable of ex­hibiting Picasso and Giacometti, I will let you conclude,” he said.

    Jack Lang, president of the Arab World Institute in Paris, who at­tended the May 15 opening, said the Mohammed VI Museum has be­come a shining institution thanks to exhibitions that “have been re­markable.”

    Qotbi said the museum would display a collection of contempo­rary art from the Pompidou Centre in Paris next year.

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