"Guernica," one of Pablo Picasso's most spectacular and controversial pictures, has been acquired for a two week's exhibit by the Fogg Art Museum, it was announced yesterday.
The painting, which has aroused storms of both favorable and unfavorable comment, depicts the bombing of the Spanish town of Guernica in 1937 by the air force of insurgent General France. It was done by Picasso for the Loyalist government as a condemnation of the raid which virtually annihilated the population and town of the sacred Basque shrine.
Twenty-five by eleven, painted only in shades of black and white, the picture has been considered by many critics to be typical of Picasso's so-called "abstract" art.
The work is not calculated to "please" its onlookers. According to Benjamin Rowland, Jr., associate professor of Fine Arts, Picasso believed that abstraction, especially in extreme degrees would be much more moving than a realistic description of an actual air raid.
The figures in the painting are therefore purposely given horrible, almost indecent distortions so that one will recoil on seeing them. The artist thus hopes to "suggest" the chaos and shock of disaster, the destruction of mind and spirit that takes place in such a catastrophe as the air raid on Guernica and, above all, the helpless rage and hatred of the trapped victims.
Many judges have called the picture final proof of the claim that Picasso is one of the great draftsmen in modern art. While the figures in "Guernica" are neither pleasant nor anatomically correct, every line is drawn with the utmost consistency and in almost perfect detail.