An exhibition of Picasso will take place at The Sursock Museum of Beirut. It will run from September 26, 2019, to January 6, 2020. The theme of the exhibition is Picasso and the family. This cultural event is part of the Picasso-Mediterranean project initiated by the Picasso-Paris National Museum. Thanks to the joint efforts of the two institutions, and to the generosity of Danièle de Picciotto, the Lebanese public will discover Picasso’s creativity. Briefing with Zeina Arida, director of the Sursock Museum.
Zeina Arida: The theme of the exhibition is Picasso and the family
How the idea of the Picasso exhibition in Beirut was born?
In 2017, the Picasso-Paris National Museum initiated a project entitled «Picasso Méditerranée», an international cultural event held until autumn 2019. In this context, Laurent Lebon, President of the Picasso Museum in Paris, insisted that a Picasso exhibition should be held in Lebanon. Due to the high costs of the event, the project could only be realized thanks to the generous contribution of Danièle Edgar de Picciotto. By this noble act, she aims to honor the memory of her dear husband Edgar, a great collector and art amateur. Cyril Karaoglan supported us during our meeting with Danièle de Picciotto.
The exhibition will host works of Picasso, which ones?
The project of the exhibition is born through a joint collaboration between the Sursock Museum and the Picasso Museum. The Sursock Museum selected the works, according to the theme, namely «Picasso and the family». This theme allows approaching the career of Picasso with an intimate, almost biographical aspect at times. Bringing together 20 works in total, paintings, drawings, engravings and sculptures, the exhibition covers seventy-seven years of creation, between 1895 and 1972.
For how long the exhibition will take place?
The exhibition will last three months, as it is always the case with all Sursock Museum exhibitions. It will run from September 27, 2019, to January 6, 2020. I would like to remind you that entrance to the exhibition is free of charge as well as the admission at Sursock museum.
What distinguishes this Picasso exhibition from other Picasso exhibitions held elsewhere?
The choice of the theme. The family has a particular resonance among the Lebanese public. The family plays a very important role in our society. The public will notice the beauty of the works and the intimacy of the exhibition. We will make a special effort to contextualize the works with detailed cartels and legends. Texts and archival documents will provide information on Picasso’s life and career. The exhibition is open to a large public, especially schools and families. Curators Camille Frasca from the Picasso Museum and Yasmine Chemali from the Sursock Museum, worked on the presentation to the public to make the exhibition both accessible and informative.
How do you plan to introduce Picasso to a large public?
By redoubling our efforts to communicate about the exhibition. Our communication will be multi-oriented through a media campaign, a poster campaign, and contacts with private and public schools.
Do you expect this exhibition to attract more art lovers?
The Sursock Museum’s mission is to promote and support art and artists in general. Therefore, it also contributes to the development of the public by being a place of meetings and exchanges, learning and discovery. In this sense, to expose Picasso in Lebanon for the first time is a very good opportunity for the country and for the public. Since the reopening of the Museum in October 2015, we have had nearly 70,000 visits per year. The Picasso exhibition is an opportunity to introduce more people to the Sursock Museum, hoping that they will become regular visitors and will want to come back to the Museum often. Interview Conducted by Mireille Bridi Bouabjian.
Daniele de Picciotto
«The exhibition is to honor the memory of my husband Edgar».
Faithful to the memory of her Lebanese-Swiss husband Edgar de Picciotto, eminent banker, philanthropist and art collector, Danièle de Picciotto fully funded the project of the exhibition «Picasso and the family». «I am delighted to fund this project in the name and in memory of my husband Edgar, says Danièle de Picciotto. It is an act of love for my country Lebanon.» And she added: «I personally love art, especially contemporary art. Picasso is a great artist, and his works deserve to be seen and known to all Lebanese and all schools.
I would like to thank all those who have collaborated seriously in the realization of this project: Zeina Arida, director of the Sursock Museum, Laurent Lebon, director of the Picasso-Paris National Museum, and Cyril Karaoglan. I asked to be the sole patron of this great initiative, which my husband Edgar, a great amateur and art collector, would have warmly applauded,» concludes Danièle de Picciotto.