Josefina Matamoros, director of the Museum of Modern Art in Ceret: ‘Ceret, Cotlliure and Cadaqués form a golden triangle’

Josefina Matamoros runs the Museum of Modern Art in Ceret. In 1978 she was one of the driving forces of the Centre for the Documentation and Promotion of the Catalan Culture in the town of Perpignan (Cedacc). In 1999 she was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi.

Eduard Carbonell, full professor and director of the UdG Master’s in Local Heritage Management, suggested her to make the inaugural lecture of the course. Matamoros believes that such a master’s degree must deal with the interrelationships between the academic and professional worlds. ‘For those of us who work in the field of cultural heritage management, university degrees in art are “book”, knowledge and learning work. However, it is important that those of us who work in museums are in contact with students and are able to pass on to them our experience, because they are the future professionals’, she said. She spoke to students about how this field works, a field in which excellence is very predominant but where there is also the presence of the non-specialist public. For this reason she insisted that they must learn to establish the bridges necessary for the non-specialist public, described as “cultural tourism”, to access art history.

As for the Ceret museum, she said that it is unusual. ‘It is not like others, because there are exceptional contributions that represent the best works of the twentieth century artists: Picasso, Braque, Soutine, Chagall… When the museum was set up in the fifties, each of them decided to give some of their work to it’, she added. The museum is therefore a reflection of what has happened in Ceret through the testimony of artists. At present, Tàpies, Miró and Perejaume have also given part of their work to the museum.

Matamoros is clear that Ceret is a landmark, because between 1910 and 1913 Picasso lived there. ‘Cubism was largely manufactured in Ceret’, she said. That is why it is known worldwide. It is a small town of seven thousand eight hundred inhabitants that, at the same time, is considered a focus of the world’s artistic creation. When it held the exhibition ‘One hundred years painting Ceret’, visitors, -‘cultural tourism’- got out of the museum and could see the landscapes they had just seen on the paintings, so they were very impressed. The museum works of art represent the art of the twentieth century, which has no borders. The director of the museum argues that this is an important aspect, because ‘in Europe borders have dissolved into the Schengen area, but people still have them and they will only be broken if we work together and try to understand how we all function. We must become a great region of Europe ….What borders broke must be unified, it must be sewn again. Our border is only three hundred years old!’, she exclaimed.

‘Ceret is a fabulous place between Les Alberes and the Canigou, with an exceptional climate, with a substratum of life and history that artists capture immediately. In Ceret, it was Cubism. In Cotlliure, with Matisse, Fauvism started. In Cadaqués Surrealism, with all Dalí’s and Duchamp’s fellow artists. We form a golden triangle’, Josephine Matamoros concluded.

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