A WOMAN who believed she was the illegitimate daughter of surrealist painter Salvador Dalí has found out via the national press that the DNA samples did not match. But as neither she nor her lawyer have heard anything...
Spanish artists on the gallery circuit
FOR 20th century art, Cataluña is the place to visit. Barcelona is home to the renowned Picasso Museum, although his most famous work, ‘Guernica’, is in Madrid’s excellent Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
The Fundació Joan Miró and some home-grown Catalan galleries are also in Barcelona while the famous Dalí Museum is almost synonymous with the irreverent attitude of the Spanish.
As well as Madrid and Barcelona, an art tour of Spain would not be complete without a visit to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and in recent times, Valencia’s IVAM has become a new destination on the European art circuit.
Surrealism and Abstract Art
The entire twentieth century was marked by the exceptional figure of Pablo Picasso (first photo), who is well represented in the collection at The Museu d’Art Espanyol Contemporani in Palma de Mallorca. Here there is a permanent collection of seventy works by the most important Spanish artists of the twentieth century – Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Juan Gris and Salvador Dalí among them – artists significant for what would become the paradigmatic style of modern painting: cubism.
Along with Picasso, Miró and Dalí (second photo), Juan Gris (third photo) and Julio González form that circle of Spanish artists who stablished their reputations in Paris before going on to win universal acclaim and recognition.
As the leading protagonists of avant-garde movements, above all cubism and surrealism, they now occupy a privileged place in museums all over the world and in anthologies on the art of the early decades of the last century.
Work by Spain’s surrealists has been widely documented, but interest in abstract art came late to Spain. The isolation of the country during the first decades of Franco’s dictatorship contributed in delaying the introduction of abstraction, which had spread rapidly throughout the rest of the art world.
Many Spanish artists therefore lived abroad, mainly in Paris and Rome, travelling to different countries to view art created in Europe, well aware they could not do the same in their home country.
The creation of abstract art at the end of the nineteen fifties consisted of more than just adopting a new idea; it meant taking a stance and risking condemnation at a politically difficult time.
To get an idea of the cultural taboo around art in Spain, Edmund Peel, former head of Christie’s auction house in Spain, tells the story of what happened when a culture minister wanted to hold the country’s first impressionist exhibit. A top Franco official refused. “He said, ‘What do we want with the impressionists? We have enough trouble with the communists’”.
It is not surprising, then, that contemporary art has come to be seen as a sort of status symbol for modernity and a new Spain. The Museo de Arte Abstracto Español in Cuenca exhibits a permanent collection of 129 paintings and sculptures by Spanish artists of the abstract generation of the 1950s and 1960s (Millares, Tàpies, Sempere, Torner, Rueda, Zóbel, Saura, among some thirty other artists), as well as several artists from the 1980s and 1990s.
In 1980, the founder of Cuenca’s museum, artist Fernando Zóbel, donated his collection to the Fundación Juan March, which incorporated it into its own collection. Situated in the Casas Colgadas (hanging houses) of the city of Cuenca, in a late fifteenth- century medieval building, this collection must be on any serious art tour of Spain.
Many agents offer art tours of Spain, with options to travel by coach with a guide, self-drive or by train. For instance, the Art and Nature of Green Spain Tour takes you through scenic locations in the Basque country with a visit to the Guggenheim in Bilbao. Details are at www.euroadventures.net. Or look through the host of possibilities organised
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