GLAMi nomination: Rethinking Guernica

nominated by: Olga Sevillano, Museo Reina Sofía, Spain
institution: Museo Reina Sofía
category: Exhibition and Collection Extension

Rethinking Guernica is a website based on over two years’ research and compiles and presents materials related to Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, the painting, which currently hangs in the Museo Reina Sofía, the artist produced for the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris World’s Fair of 1937.

The site stems from the collaboration between a wide range of professionals — researchers, conservators, IT technicians, art historians, and designers — and has been developed by the Museo Reina Sofía’s Collections Area, Conservation and Restoration Department, and Virtual Programmes Department.

As a result, this initiative serves as an open and constantly evolving tool of knowledge, progressively enriched with new documents. Envisaged as an archive of archives, Rethinking Guernica comprises around 2,000 documents from 120 public and private archives, institutions and national and international agencies (22 of which have been visited in person). These include: the Picasso Museum (Paris), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Nationalmuseum (Stockholm), the Roland Penrose Archive, National Galleries of Scotland (Edinburgh), the Museum of Modern Art Archives, (New York), the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library, (New York), the National History Archive (Madrid), and the Museo del Prado Archive (Madrid), etc.

The plural nature and provenance of the assembled materials facilitates the discovery of the contexts surrounding Guernica, with the website bringing together documents and institutional and personal correspondence, exhibition catalogues, internal records from museums, shipping and insurance documents, photographs, handwritten manuscripts, news reports, newspapers, magazines… In short, up to 60 different types of materials.