Due to renovations, the Kunstmuseum Basel closed its doors in February 2015 for the duration of a year. During this time, core pieces of the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel, the city’s public art collection, are displayed at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst and the Museum der Kulturen Basel—and at the two most important Spanish art museums: The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía presents a survey of the modern and contemporary art in the Basel collection, while the famous Basel Picassos are shown in the heart of the Museo Nacional del Prado.
The Museo del Prado, one of the world’s finest art museums, hosts the Basel Picassos in its inner sanctum. Ten Masterpieces from Basel are on display in the Galería Central (the Museum’s Central Gallery), home to masterworks of European painting from Titian and Tintoretto to Velázquez, from Rubens and van Dyck to Goya. Until mid-September 2015, the Galería Central combines the Prado’s own premier holdings—a collection of royal origin—with the Picassos from Basel, a democratic treasure: central pieces of the Picasso collection were acquired after the legendary 1967 referendum initiated by enthusiastic citizens, which then inspired further donations, including by Picasso himself. The exhibition at the Prado highlights this background, but also reveals connections between Picasso’s modern paintings and the works of the Old Masters.