This autumn, the Gemeentemuseum is holding an exhibition of 20th-century Spanish masterpieces: leading works by Picasso, Miró, Dalí, Gris, Fernández, Tàpies etc. seldom seen outside the walls of Madrid's Reina Sofía Museum. Spanish artists working in the period before 1945 exercised a major influence on artistic developments in the twentieth century. They were in the vanguard of the changes taking place in the art world, in style, in professional attitudes and in the place of the artist within society.
Picasso was a key figure in this respect. With his succession of styles, he demonstrated the importance of artistic freedom. And his world-famous Guernica was a penetrating commentary on the Spanish civil war. (Ten preliminary studies for this are included in the exhibition.) The stylistic evolution in Picasso's work is also reflected (albeit in a completely different way) in that of artists like Miró and Dalí. After World War II, artists like Tàpies, Chillida and Saura maintained the Spanish tradition: they were interested in Abstraction and Surrealism, both figurative and non-figurative. Their work often responds to their predecessors' themes and choices of material. The masterpieces in this exhibition are all from the Reina Sofía Museum in Spain and there is very rarely any chance to see them elsewhere.