MADRID -- Javier Tusell, a respected historian and philosopher who negotiated the return to Spain of Pablo Picasso's antiwar masterpiece, ''Guernica," died yesterday in Barcelona. He was 59.
Mr. Tusell had leukemia, reported Cadena Ser radio.
Mr. Tusell had a prolific career, writing more than 30 books on subjects ranging from discourses on Spanish politics to collections of literary essays. He also served as a history professor at universities in Madrid and Barcelona.
He is best remembered in Spain for his role in the 1981 return to Spain of ''Guernica." Mr. Tusell was the director of Spain's National Heritage, a fine arts institute, and he led the negotiations to have the Picasso masterpiece handed over to Spain's Prado Museum from New York's Museum of Modern Art, where the painting had hung since 1939.
The painting, which portrays the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica during the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War, came to symbolize the brutality of European fascism. Picasso went into exile after the war to oppose the dictatorship of Francisco Franco and had insisted the painting not hang in Spain until democracy was restored.
That goal was met following Franco's death in 1975.
In recent years, Mr. Tusell worked as a political analyst for several Spanish media outlets, including El Pais, a leading daily, and Cadena Ser.