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Picasso in Basel

The community boasts the greatest concentration of museums of any city in Switzerland, not to mention the leading international art fair Art Basel. Less well-known is the fact that the city has a long tradition of art appreciation. Back in 1967, residents fought to keep two Picassos at the Kunstmuseum Basel – the city’s fine arts museum – with the slogan “All You Need Is Pablo”. The city’s passion for art has continued to grow, finding latest expression in the magnificent new extension to the Kunstmuseum Basel

All you need is Pablo: The Picasso miracle of 1967

Fifty years ago, Basel’s art world was in uproar. Two paintings by Picasso hanging in the Kunstmuseum Basel on loan from the art collector Rudolf Staechelin – “The two brothers” and “Seated harlequin” – were to be sold abroad because of financial constraints facing the family. The young people of Basel formed a campaign of resistance and persuaded the city’s residents to vote in favour of spending more than six million francs to purchase the paintings.

Picasso himself was so moved by this declaration of affection by the people of Basel that he presented the city with three further paintings and a drawing as a gift.

Fondation Beyeler
Kunstmuseum Basel
Art in Basel
Seated harlequin

Pablo Picasso, 1923, Kunstmuseum Basel

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