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Suzanne Valadon's first anthology or 'Jews and converts in the Middle Ages', highlights of the MNAC season

Suzanne Valadon's first anthology or 'Jews and converts in the Middle Ages', highlights of the MNAC season
bonart barcelona - 19/02/24

The director of the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC), Pepe Serra, presented this Wednesday the 2024 program that consolidates the institution's working model with international productions, recovery of heritage and local stories and a commitment to grow the National Collection. The new course will feature the first anthological exhibition in the State on the French impressionist painter Suzanne Valadon or the exhibition linked to Gothic Art 'The lost mirror. Jews and converts in the Middle Ages'. The MNAC will recover marginalized figures such as the illustrator Eveli Torent or Adolf Fargnoli and will incorporate in the rooms works by artists so far out of the story such as the ceramist Josep Llorens Artigas or the Mestre de Cabestany.

Both the exhibition on Suzanne Valadon, carried out with the Pompidou Museum in Metz and the Nantes Art Museum, as well as 'The lost mirror. Jews and converts in the Middle Ages, in collaboration with the Museo del Prado, are co-produced exhibitions where the MNAC contributes research, works from its collections and its own museography.

The first to arrive will be The Lost Mirror. Jews and converts in the Middle Ages, which can be seen from February 22 to May 26. This exhibition recovers a medieval mirror: the portrait of Jews and converts conceived by Christians in Spain between 1285 and 1492. During this period, images played a fundamental role in the complex relationship between these three groups.

Later it will be the turn of another of the strong dishes of 2024, Suzanne Valadon. A modern epic, from April 18 to September 1. The anthology will focus on one of the most relevant artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in France.

Specifically, the exhibition will collect creations from his entire artistic career, mainly paintings and drawings that belong to various institutions and individuals, among which the Pompidou Center in Paris stands out, where a significant part of the works come from, but also of the MNAC itself. In total, it will bring together 112 works, of which 48 can only be seen in Barcelona.

This year one of the protagonists of the course will be Eveli Torent with Entre Els Quatre Gats i la maçoneria. From October 10, 2024 to February 9, 2025, the figure of this painter and illustrator of surprising personality and trajectory will be recovered.

The first steps in the artistic world of Eveli Torent (Badalona, 1876 - Barcelona, 1940) link him to the surroundings of Els Quatre Gats, a crucial epicenter of Catalan modernism, where he participated in the inaugural exhibition in 1897 and, subsequently, he would be one of the few artists who would exhibit there monographically.

In this cenacle the artist would meet the most veteran promoters of modernity and share the yearnings of the emerging generation that would succeed them. It is related to Pablo Picasso, who between 1899 and 1900 made three portraits in charcoal from Torrent, and also to Carles Casagemas, Joaquim Mir and Hermen Anglada Camarasa.

In the chapter of discoveries, from March 20 to June 24, the unique story of the Catalan Jordi Longaron will be offered. In 1970, Longaron (1933-2019) was hired by The Chicago Tribune Syndicate to draw their new Friday Foster weekly comic strip, scripted by Jim Lawrence. The protagonist of this comic was a liberated woman, Friday Foster, an African-American detective photographer, brave, sexy and daring who transcends the taboos of the time, a disruptive character, who caused controversy and rejection in certain sectors.

The second semester of 2024 will be the turn of the Master of Cabestany with a new space in the collection resulting from the incorporation of four sculptural fragments from the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes attributed to this master and his workshop.

The season will be completed with the Romanesque intervention around the Chilean Fernando Prats and with the extended exhibition on Adolf Fargnoli Del Noucentisme a l'avanguarda that will be offered from May 16 to September 15, 2024. Two works will also be presented with three different trajectories: the Sant Jordi Fireplace Bell and a ceramic piece by Josep Llorens Artigas.

During the season's presentation press conference, it was also explained that in 2023, 297 works of art were lent to 28 Catalan institutions, either on loan or in deposit. Two major performances stand out: the 21 works deposited in the new Baroque Museum in Manresa and Sert's paintings deposited in the Vic Cathedral Ambulatory.

Regarding the forecast or loans and deposits for 2024 there will be 15 works on loan at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Lleida, 22 works at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona or the deposit of 40 works at the new Renaissance Museum in King's Mills On the occasion of the expansion of the Museum of Tortosa, the National Museum is participating in the creation of a space dedicated to illustrious Tortosa artists with a deposit of a total of six paintings and one drawing.

It has also been indicated that the MNAC will accompany the four major museum projects that will open their doors in Catalonia this year: the Baroque Museum of Catalonia. Museum of Manresa, the Altarpiece of the Shameful in the Museum of Granollers, Morera. Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Lleida and the Palau Requesens in Molins de Rei.

Budget 2024

The Government's budget project for 2024 foresees an increase of one million euros for the MNAC. If these accounts are approved by Parliament, the National Museum will have a budget that would reach 20 million euros.

Serra thanked the Generalitat for the effort to increase the contribution. However, he explained that 87% of the museum's budget is allocated to infrastructure and that only 3 million euros will be allocated to activities and exhibitions. In this sense, he said that in the future it is necessary to continue to increase the number of activities and exhibitions. He has said that the museum should have a budget like that of 2008, when it exceeded 21 million euros.

As he pointed out, of the consortium between the Generalitat, the Barcelona City Council and the State, the Ministry of Culture should increase its contribution.

The expansion of the MNAC is gaining speed

Serra explained that the expansion of the MNAC is gaining speed because there is an "alignment" and a consensus between administrations. "For sure there will be new developments this year. I don't know who will communicate them," he said. "If we used to go with third gear, now we go with fifth," he applauded.

Despite the fact that an urban plan for the area has yet to be resolved by Barcelona City Council, he has shown confidence that the MNAC will benefit from it. However, he said the centenary celebration in 2029 could make the ambitious project a reality.

He also said that the MNAC is preparing the study to find out what economic impact the new museum will have when the expansion is completed.

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