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Say UN will get Picasso’s other “Guernica″

March 19, 1985

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Delegates on their way to Security Council debates soon will be confronted by a symbolic reminder of the horrors of war - a tapestry of Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece ″Guernica″ - sources reported Tuesday.

The sources said the valuable tapestry, owned by the late Nelson A. Rockefeller and woven under Picasso’s supervision, is to be loaned or donated to the United Nations by Margaretta ″Happy″ Rockefeller, widow of the former New York governor and U.S. vice president.

Javier Perez de Cuellar, the U.N. secretary-general, met with Mrs. Rockefeller here Tuesday. U.N. spokesman Francois Giuliani would say only that they discussed a project of mutual interest, but the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the meeting dealt with the tapestry.

George Taylor, who identified himself as a public relations representative of the Rockefeller family, declined to comment on Mrs. Rockefeller’s meeting at U.N. headquarters beyond saying it was ″a personal, private one with the secretary-general as a friend.″

Taylor, returning a telephone call to the Nelson Rockefeller Collection, refused to answer questions on the tapestry itself.

Mrs. Rockefeller was said to have proposed displaying the work at U.N. headquarters.

The woven replica of Picasso’s famed 1937 painting hung in the executive mansion in Albany while Rockefeller was governor of New York from 1959-73.

The original 11-by-25-foot painting, Picasso’s protest of the bombing of the Basque capital of Guernica during the Spanish civil war, was on extended loan to the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 1939 to 1981.

In line with the late artist’s wishes, it was turned over to the Prado Museum in Madrid after the death of dictator Francisco Franco and the return of democracy Picasso’s native country.

The ″Guernica″ tapestry will hang on a concave wall in the wide corridor outside the Security Council chamber, where issues of peace and war are debated, the sources said.

On a nearby wall is the tapestry of a Picasso painting with a peaceful motif - ″Woman on a Ladder″ The woman holds a dove in her hands. It was donated by Mrs. Albert D. Lasker, an American art collector and philanthropist.

″Guernica,″ painted in stark black, white and gray tones, depicts screaming women, a dead infant, the dismembered body of a defender, a panicked horse and a maddened bull.

The Basque town was bombed by Adolf Hitler’s Luftwaffe in support of Franco’s rebel army. For the Germans, it was a test of carpet-bombing techniques later used in World War II.

Among other notable contributions made to the U.N. art collection recently is the abstract bronze ″Reclining Figure″ by the renowned British sculptor Henry Moore.

The ″Guernica″ tapestry would not be the first favor the United Nations has received from the Rockefeller family. The 39-story U.N. headquarters complex stands on an 18-acre site paid for with $8.5 million donated by John D. Rockefeller Jr., Nelson’s father.

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