The most famous of three tapestry versions of Guernica, Pablo Picasso’s anti-war masterpiece, has found a new home at the San Antonio Museum of Art after being displayed for nearly 25 years at the United Nations headquarters in New York. There, in 2003, officials controversially covered it with a blue curtain during Secretary of State Colin Powell’s press conference arguing for the Iraq war. The 23-foot-long tapestry, like the original painting on display in Madrid, depicts a horse and a bull in a maelstrom of humans—Picasso’s charged response to the gruesome 1937 Nazi bombing of a defenseless town in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. The painting’s bold blacks, whites, and grays are softened in the tapestry, which is woven with warm browns and yellows selected by Picasso in collaboration with the French artists René and Jacqueline de la Baume Dürrbach. “The tapestry promotes the notion of art being democratic,” said Katie Luber, the museum’s director. “It allows a wider audience to see a brilliant work.”
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