On this day… 1981, Picasso’s “Guernica” was returned to Spain.

On September 10, 1981, Artist Pablo Picasso’s monumental anti-war mural “Guernica” was returned to Spain after four decades of refugee existence. One of my favourite pieces, the painting was inspired by the destruction of the Basque town of Guernica by the Nazi’s during the Spanish Civil War.

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Picasso working on his “Guernica”

At the time, Picasso was working in Paris. On hearing the news of devastation and destruction upon this city, he painted arguably one of the most famous paintings in the world ever! It shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians.

In 1939, Picasso gave the painting to New York’s Museum of Modern Art on an extended loan and decreed that it not be returned to Spain until democratic liberties were restored, eventually returning to Spain in 1981–eight years after Picasso’s death. The work now hangs in Madrid at the Reina Sofia, Museum of Art.

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“Guernica”

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Peggy and her collection…

The Guggenheim in New York is probably one of the most famous Art Museums in the world today. Not only for its collection of modern art but also it architectural design! The Guggenheim family were wealthy Americans originally from Germany. Although it was Solomon who set up the foundation, gallery space and subsequent museum it was actually his niece, Peggy that helped to establish the modern contemporary collection we know today. Peggy, although a ferocious purchaser of modern art is slightly lesser know than her Uncle, for obvious reasons however here in the gallery we like to highlight a prominent period of her life.

Peggy Guggenheim is one of the most amazing, amusing and courageous figures in Modern Art. Much married, with an impressive string of lovers, she began collecting surrealist works from a relatively early age.

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Peggy used to say that it was her duty to protect the art of her own time, and she dedicated half of her life to this mission. As a young woman  she worked at the ‘Sun Wise Turn’ bookshop in New York and became involved in New York’s intellectual and artistic circles. In 1921 Peggy Guggenheim travelled to Europe, and soon found herself at the heart of Parisian bohemia and American expatriate society.
 
In 1937, Peggy decided to open an art gallery in London. The opening of the “Guggenheim Jeune” gallery in January 1938 marked the beginning of a career that would significantly affect the course of post war art. The gallery never made money, however Peggy continued to purchase contemporary pieces and investing her time into opening museum spaces in London, Paris and later Venice.
 
In the midst of World War II, she fled back to New York. On her return she set up a museum housing much of her collection cubist, abstract, and Surrealist art. Here she exhibited work by (then) relatively unknown artists’ such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and David Hare. She continued inspiring artists to paint and think differently, allowing them freedom to exhibit and encouraging the public to embrace modern contemporary art! After a few years she returned to Europe, opening a gallery space  in Venice and highlighting Pollock and Rothko giving them their first taste of European exposure together with works by Picasso and Dali.
 
Towards the late 1960’s Peggy was invited to showcase her collection at her Uncle’s Museum. Her uncle, Solomon had established  the “Solomon Foundation” museum after the war although at the time mainly displayed  early impressionistic work. Peggy’s collection was well received and as a result has grown to become one of the finest bodies of work in the world highlighting the gallery of the same name.

From one fine collection to another… Here in the gallery we are proud to represent modern works from all over the world. The only space in Nottingham dealing with original, contemporary pieces. Do visit us on line or pop in to see the complete collection.

www.georgethorntonart.com