‘Guernica’ Landed In Madrid From New York 40 Years Ago

On a day like today the ‘Guernica’ landed in Madrid from New York 40 years ago. This Friday marks the 40th anniversary of the arrival in Spain from New York of Pablo Ruiz Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ , the canvas commissioned by the Government of Spain from the Malaga artist for the Spanish Pavilion at the 1937 International Exhibition in Paris.

After more than four decades exhibited at the MoMA museum in New York at the express wish of the artist, on September 9, 1981 the canvas traveled from the John F. Kennedy International Airport to Madrid-Barajas on the regular Iberia flight 0952.

The flight landed at 8:27 am on September 10 , without the 319 passengers or part of the 19 crew members knowing that the painting was with them in the hold.

Once on the ground, the plane’s commander, Juan López Durán, informed the passengers over the public address system that “they have been accompanying Picasso’s Guernica on his return to Spain.”

This is how the Guernica arrived in Spain on an Iberia plane. IBERIAThis is how the Guernica arrived in Spain on an Iberia plane. IBERIA
Picasso’s work flew rolled up and packed in a wooden box in the hold of the ‘Jumbo’ Lope de Vega (EC-DLD), a Boeing 747 aircraft model with a capacity for 404 passengers with which the airline covered its routes of long-haul and whose fleet retired in 2006.

The Casón del Buen Retiro, linked to the Prado Museum, was the first destination for oil painting and where it remained until 1992 , when it was transferred to the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum in the Spanish capital where it remains today.

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