The Regional Minister of Culture presents the exhibition ‘Zuloaga and Falla, a story of friendship’ at the Alhambra

The exhibition consists of over 150 pieces that tell the story of the personal relationship between the two artists and the most important projects they worked on together

The Regional Minister of Culture, Rosa Aguilar, was at the Alhambra today to present the exhibition ‘Zuloaga and Falla: a story of friendship’, which is on show until 18 September in the Temporary Exhibition Room at the Granada Fine Arts Museum on the upper floor of the Palace of Charles V. Aguilar referred to Falla as “a man from Cadiz by birth and Granada by adoption”, and Zuloaga as “a man from Guipuzcoa who loved Andalusia profoundly” and went on to say that “these were two artists who enriched each other, who shared talent and knowledge to help each other create, so enabling them to grow together, because when we share, we add and we multiply”.
Aguilar also claimed that “Falla and Zuloaga are a very important example of the path that everyone should follow, the path of sharing what we know, our knowledge, what we have, so that together we can walk forward, laying the seeds and building our future”. “We are at an exhibition about people with talent, knowledge, creativity, unique people from which we can and indeed must learn everyday”, the Minister assured when commenting on the presence in the exhibition of Cervantes, via ‘Master Peter’s Puppet Show’ (El retablo de Maese Pedro), an opera for puppets inspired by an episode from Don Quixote, on which Falla and Zuloaga worked together.
For Aguilar, this exhibition “displays creativity, commitment and understanding, the constant mutual understanding between Falla and Zuloaga. It also talks about friendship with a capital F. It deals with the culture that makes us freer and is the expression of the culture that reaches out to people so that they can make it theirs, can enjoy it and share it in the same way the two artists appearing in this exhibition did”.
The presentation of the exhibition was also attended by Jorge Sobredo, Director of Programming at Spanish Cultural Action (AC/E); the Mayor of Granada, Francisco Cuenca; the creator of the Ignacio Zuloaga-Castillo de Pedraza Museum, María Rosa Suárez Zuloaga (the artist’s granddaughter) and the Director of the Manuel de Falla Archives, Elena García de Paredes (the musician’s great niece). Together they inaugurated the exhibition which covers the personal relationship and the professional projects on which these two great artists of the first half of the 20th century worked together. Over the years they maintained a deep, almost family-like relationship sustained by the creation of exciting joint artistic projects.
Rosa Aguilar thanked the descendants of the artists who attended the presentation and the various different bodies that have loaned the exhibits and praised “the institutional cooperation and collaboration in which we at the Regional Government of Andalusia firmly believe because we know it is the best way to serve the general public and to offer them opportunities like this one”.
The exhibition takes us on a chronological journey (1913-1939) through the joint projects of these two exceptional creators via their letters, photographs and news reports. These are joined by the paintings of Zuloaga and the music of Falla in order to place the exhibition within its historical context in “an extraordinary period of artistic modernity”. In total over 150 pieces, 30 of which are paintings by Ignacio Zuloaga.
The exhibition has exhibits loaned by the Zuloaga Museum and the Manuel de Falla Archives, in addition to others from the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, the Almagro National Theatre, Granada City Council, the Council of the Alhambra and Generalife, the Cervantes Institute in Paris, the Catalonia National Art Museum and the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, as well as from private collectors.
Story of a friendship
Research indicates that Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) and Ignacio Zuloaga (1870-1945) probably met in Paris in 1910, but there is no documentary evidence of their relationship until 1913. This is where the exhibition begins with a letter in which the composer asks his painter friend for help and advice regarding the staging of “Life is Short” (La vida breve). After this initial contact, the two men wrote each other many letters in which “their successes and failures shine through, as do their social and political concerns, their dreams, family problems and above all the views on Spanish art and culture of these two magnificent creators’”, explained José Vallejo, one of the curators of this exhibition.
Over the next two decades Zuloaga and Falla met in Paris, Madrid and Granada among other cities. Their friendship led them to work together on various projects such as the inauguration in 1917 of schools for the people (Escuelas Populares) in the house in which Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) was born in Fuendetodos. Falla attended the inauguration and took part in the events by playing the harmonium in the parish church, searching for inspiration for the composition of his final jota in his ballet the ‘Three-Cornered Hat’ (Sombrero de tres picos).
Their friendship also led them to work together on a project in which they were responsible for both the music and the staging. The initial idea took 15 years to take final shape in the performance of Master Peter’s Puppet Show (El Retablo de Maese Pedro) at the Opera Comique in Paris in 1928. This was the culmination of the professional collaboration between the two men. It was the most ambitious project they embarked on together, a musical for characters and puppets that explored Theatre within Theatre, with a libretto that was inspired by an episode from Don Quixote. It is one of Falla’s best-known creations and was performed for the first time as a concert in Seville in 1923 before premiering on the stage in Paris.
For almost twenty years the two artists worked on a variety of other projects, most of which were of social interest. One of the most important was the Granada Cante Jondo Flamenco Singing Competition organized by Falla, Lorca and Fernando Vílchez in 1922; the year in which Zuloaga had an exhibition at the Meersmans Museum in Granada. The two artists last met in 1932, when Falla stayed at Zuloaga’s house in Zumaya before leaving for Argentina, where he died in 1946, a year after his friend. A farewell letter from Argentina was a goodbye that both men realized was definitive.
For more information, please visit www.alhambra-patronato.es

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