This was the flight that brought the “Guernica” to Spain 40 years ago

The flight took off on September 9 and landed at 8:27 a.m. the following day, without the 319 passengers or part of the 19 crew members knowing about the valuable merchandise that accompanied them in the hold.

Today they are fulfilled 40 years after arriving in Spain from New York of one of the most emblematic pictorial works in the history of art, the “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso. The canvas was commissioned by the Government of Spain to the Malaga artist for the Spanish Pavilion of the International Exhibition of Paris of 1937.

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

The flight landed at 8:27 a.m. on the 10th, without the 319 passengers nor part of the 19 crew members they knew about the valuable merchandise that accompanied them in the warehouse. Once on the ground, the commander of the plane, Juan López Duran, informed the passengers over the public address system with the following message: «Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Madrid. I have to tell you that they have been accompanying Picasso’s Guernica on his return to Spain ». Isabel almazan and Beatriz Ganuza They were two of the Flight Passenger Cabin Crew and they tell us how they lived it.

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Picasso’s work – 7.77 m by 3.49 m – was rolled up and packed in a huge wooden box in the cellar of the «Jumbo» Lope de Vega (EC-DLD), a model airplane Boeing 747 with capacity for 404 passengers with which the airline covered its long-haul routes and whose fleet retired in 2006.

The Casón del Buen Retiro -linked to the Prado Museum- was the first destination of the oil and where it remained until 1992, the year in which it was transferred to the Reina Sofia National Art Center Museum from the Spanish capital where it remains today.

Press release.

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