Camilo José Cela: Literature and Art

Camilo José Cela: Literature and Art

The exhibition, curated by María Toral in collaboration with the writer’s son, Camilo Cela Conde, has been organised by the Fundación Charo y Camilo and was initially shown at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid (23 March‒21 May 2017) and at Las Francesas in Valladolid (29 May‒9 July 2017). Since then, Acción Cultural Española has been collaborating on its tour of other Spanish venues.

Camilo José Cela was the founder and chief editor of Papeles de Son ArmadansThe establishment and development of this magazine was linked to the writer’s presence on the island of Palma de Mallorca for more than 30 years. The publication came into being in Mallorca but aimed to go beyond its borders. By January 1956 there were sufficient contributors for its first issue, among them Gregorio Marañón, Alonso Zamora Vicente, José Mª Castellet, José Mª Moreno Galván, Dámaso Alonso, Carles Riba, Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio and Ricardo Gullón.

Its founder began striking up a close relationship with local and Spanish intellectuals. Cela’s plans for this literary project materialised into several decisions. Firstly, he offered pages to Spanish writers in exile, such as Rafael Alberti, Max Aub, Emilio Prados and Luis Cernuda. Secondly, he was determined to include texts in the three languages of Spain, as well as authors who published in English. Lastly, Papeles de Son Armadans welcomed the work of famous visual artists, including Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Antoni Tàpies and the members of the El Paso group.

This collaboration stemming from the connection between literature and art also extended to the publication of a few books, such as Joan Miró. Dibujos y litografías and Gavilla de Fábulas sin amor. Ilustraciones de Picasso, the result of joint work by the Málaga-born painter and Cela. Papeles de Son Armadans devoted its 37th issue to the El Paso group, featuring four unpublished drawings by Picasso as a child, dedications by Miró and Escudero, and illustrations by the members of El Paso, as well as the group’s final manifesto, which was published here for the first time. The verses of the Conversaciones Poéticas de Formentor were also disseminated by the magazine in the form of poems illustrated by Cela himself and by Canogar, Millares, Tàpies, Saura and Viola, with a cover by Miró.
This exhibition focusing on the editorial history of Papeles de Son Armadans is a unique opportunity to survey the writer and Nobel Prize winner, who would have been 100 in 2016, from a new perspective. Literature and the visual arts seldom enjoyed such an effective and surprising partnership as in the pages of  Papeles de Son Armadans, an extraordinary magazine of which 276 monthly issues were published between 1956 and 1979.


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