Málaga / Cela and Picasso were “like two roosters in the same pen, which are often handled in a difficult way”, but in this case, “surprisingly and even almost difficult to explain”, the relationship between the two “worked very well” , according to the writer’s son, Camilo José Cela Conde.
“Perhaps the reason they got along so well was that they were two characters of enormous projection and creative talent, but in two different plots,” Cela Conde said Thursday at the presentation of the exhibition in which the Picasso Foundation explore the relationship between both creators.
He adds that his father “never talked in his family life about anything that had to do with literary issues,” but “another thing is what it meant for him to meet Picasso and Jacqueline and what came after eight trips to France” to Visit the painter.
As explained by the curator of the exhibition, Javier Pérez Segura, Cela arrived in Palma de Mallorca in 1954 and became a “crossroads or network of networks” that was reflected in his magazine “Papeles de Son Armadans”, an “incredible show of different ideologies and types of art ”.
There he approached “by direct attraction” to Joan Miró, who made “a very funny interview”, and surely this artist was the one who recommended that he meet Picasso.
The writer appeared in Cannes in 1958 without prior permission and there he had to go through the mandatory waiting process to see Picasso, “a very busy man who sometimes spent a whole morning signing five hundred prints,” said the curator.
“In Picasso’s house there were always dozens of people trying to see him. There was a system of quotes by which it was written on paper who each one was and why he wanted to see it, and after a few hours he was answered ”.
With the distance of time, Pérez Segura seems “the most natural” that both were friends, sharing “a very peculiar feeling of Spanish, being cosmopolitan, liking certain things to both of them and knowing how to recognize each other’s creative genius”, for what was “almost an inevitable destiny”.
Regarding the supposed ideological differences between the two, the commissioner regrets that de Cela “often repeats only part of his political position, that of the early 40s, when he acted as censor”, and less known after 50, as someone who suffered the censorship of Franco.
It also highlights that, when the relationship began in 1958, Cela “was already a god of literature, and this was not the typical visit of someone unknown who wants to become famous thanks to Picasso.”
“Humility” and “humanity”
However, Cela’s “humility” in front of Picasso was “surprising,” and the writer confessed that the painter’s “humanity” had drawn his attention.
The collaboration between the two was reflected in four projects between 1960 and 1962, the first of them a monograph of “Papers of Son Armadans” that a “stubborn” Cela was determined to publish, even if it had not been received by the artist.
That monograph “enchanted” Picasso and Jacqueline and gave way to the following collaborations, “a pairing between literature and image, between word and form, in some of which Cela played Cela and Picasso, Picasso, and in others, upside down”.
“In some, Picasso overflows with that kind of poetry without any dramatic syntax, which is almost a spontaneous creation of communication with another place that is not that of normative literature,” said the curator.
The exhibition, with funds from the Gabarrón Foundation, collects 101 pieces, among which there are 41 documents that testify the friendship between the two, in addition to the monograph of “Papeles de Son Armadans”, the editions of Picasso’s book of poems “Piece of skin ”(1960), of the copy“ Picasso. Drawings and writings ”(1961) and Cela’s book“ Sheaf of fables without love ”, with illustrations from Malaga. (February 14, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)