Spain tourism office launches year-long programme of exhibitions to mark 50th anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s death

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s death, Spain’s tourism office Turespaña has launched an ambitious year-long programme celebrating the most dominant and influential artist of the first half of the 20th century with exhibitions to be held in Spain and beyond.

Labelled The Picasso 1973–2023 Celebration, this bonanza of 50 incredible worldwide exhibitions will inhabit 16 Spanish cities and eight countries that are dearly connected to the artist, including Madrid, Barcelona, and Malaga – all of which marked Picasso’s formative years. The first exhibition to open within the artist’s home nation will be ‘Pablo Picasso and the breaking down of sculpture’ at Madrid’s MAPFRE Foundation on 23 September, wrapping up in April 2024 at the Petit Palais in Paris.

The exhibitions will play an important role in Turespaña’s new international marketing campaign – ‘Spain inspired Picasso, come and be inspired by Spain’ – intending to firmly position the country as a dominant cultural destination and lead younger generations towards his art. Director General of Turespaña Miguel Sanz proposes “that you travel to those Spanish destinations, and rediscover them” with more fervour from a cultural perspective rather than a touristic one.

As a titan of 20th-century art, Picasso revolutionised cubism theory, bringing innovative techniques that shifted the course of art forms at his time and the foreseeable future. Some of his most remarkable works include The Old Guitarist, Guernica, and The Weeping Woman – one of Picasso’s earliest yet most famous analytical Cubist pieces. Despite sadly passing in 1973 from pulmonary oedema, Picasso’s work continues to infiltrate contemporary society, proving his legacy is still alive 50 years after his death.

With a €2.5 billion budget, the exciting programme will also take place in major institutions throughout Europe and North America, including the Mint Museum in North Carolina and Centre Pompidou in Paris.