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Qatar to host first Picasso-Giacometti exhibition in the Middle East


All photos courtesy of Qatar Museums

More than 120 works by renowned 20th Century artists Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti will be shown in Qatar for the first time next year.

The free exhibition runs from Feb. 23 to May 21, 2017 at the Doha Fire Station. It will be the first time that pieces by these artists will be exhibited in the Middle East, Qatar Museums said.

The collection includes paintings, sculptures, sketches and photographs, as well as interviews with the artists.

Fire Station
Fire Station

They will all be on display in the exhibition space of the converted old Civil Defense building on Wadi Al Sail.

The exhibition will include some major works by both artists spanning decades of their careers, such as Picasso’s Self Portrait (1901), Woman Throwing a Stone (1931) and The She Goat (1950).

Meanwhile, key pieces by Giacometti include Flower in Danger (1932), Tall Woman (1960) and Walking Man (1960).

In addition to the original works, there will also be some rare and fragile casts, newly-discovered drawings and photographic archives.

Finally, the exhibition will include some replicas of Giacometti’s works for visually impaired visitors to touch, QM said in a statement yesterday.

Qatar exhibition

The exhibition follows on the heels of a bigger version of the Picasso-Giacometti show, which is currently open to the public at the Musée National Picasso in Paris.

That display contains around 200 works across eight sections and runs until Feb. 5 next year, closing just two weeks before the Doha exhibition opens.

The pieces on display in Qatar are on loan mostly from the Musée National Picasso and the Fondation Giacometti, which are both based in Paris. There will also be other works borrowed from collections internationally.

Pablo Picasso's The Bathers
Pablo Picasso\’s The Bathers

The collection will be divided into six sections. Each will cover different aspects of each artist’s work – from their early pieces as young artists to more modern ones.

It will chart “the correspondences between their works, the influence of the surrealist movement, and the return to realism during the post-war period,” QM said.

Previously, experts at the two Paris galleries spent two years researching the links between the artists.

They found documents, notebooks and sketches showing that, despite a 20-year age difference, they shared personal moments with each other.

These ranged from their first meeting in the early 1930s until after the second World War.

Catherine Grenier, director of the Fondation Giacometti, curated the Doha exhibition along with associate curators Serena Bucalo-Mussely, also from the Fondation Giacometti, and Virginie Perdrisot from the Musee National Picasso-Paris.

Artists’ hub

This is the biggest exhibition to be hosted by the Fire Station since it opened in 2015 as a gallery. It also contains a café and studio space for emerging artists.

Previous exhibitions include work from those taking part in its Artists’ in Residence program, which is now in its second year.

Installation of the artwork at the Fire Station
Installation of artwork at the Fire Station

Although the items on display in this exhibition will all be international loans, Qatar is rumored to have bought some of its own Picasso works.

In 2013, Picasso’s Child With Dove painting sold in London for $74.5 million and left the UK after 85 years there – reportedly to travel to Qatar.

Who’s planning on going to the exhibition? Thoughts?

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