Overshadowed by the orthodox histories of the avant-garde, the figure of María Blanchard has several aspects that have resulted in her being relegated to a secondary, and decidedly minor, position. These aspects include her condition as a woman and her distance from the prevailing cubist grammars. At this seminar Eugenio Carmona, Carmen Bernárdez, María Dolores Jiménez-Blanco, Xon de Ros and María José Salazar present some new frameworks for better understanding the artist and, at the same time, the historical avant-gardes.
María Blanchard (1881-1932), a pioneer in the formation of the historical avant-garde, does not fall within the roles usually given to female artists at the start of modernity. A hunchback who never married or had children, Blanchard had little in common with the artist-model defined by impressionism (Berthe Morisot or Mary Cassatt) or with the artist-partner sometimes found in surrealism (Remedios Varo, introduced by Max Ernst, or Meret Oppenheim, introduced by Alberto Giacometti). Unlike women artists in other contexts, María Blanchard is neither a symbol of the modern woman nor a reflection of the desire of the men populating avant-garde circles. On the contrary, her painting represents the case of an artist that was very independent and deeply committed to the notion of modernity. Between 1913-1919 she worked on a cubism quite close to the Kantian ideal of the autonomy of form, rivalling Juan Gris in an effort to redefine the language of cubism using the rules of painting. Then from 1919 to 1932 she took part in the return to order and the construction of a classical idea of art, a conceptualisation bearing a certain relationship with political and cultural nationalism. In short, she was an artist who displayed in just a few years a large number of the qualities and controversies that surrounded the avant-garde during the first third of the 20th century.
This seminar is the culmination of a multi-faceted research project that involves, on the one hand, the publication of a catalogue raisonné of Blanchard's artworks (Fundación Telefónica y Museo Reina Sofía, 2004); and on the other, the exhibitions held at Fundación Botín and Museo Reina Sofía. The debate is structured into a series of concise presentations that highlight the most relevant aspects of Blanchard's work.
6:00 p.m. Eugenio Carmona. María Blanchard and the redefinition of cubism
6:20 p.m. Carmen Bernárdez. María Blanchard agency and history
6:40 p.m. Xon de Ros. The work of María Blanchard in the context of avant-garde primitivism
7:15 p.m. María Dolores Jiménez-Blanco. After cubism? María Blanchard's painting after 1918
7:40 p.m. María José Salazar. María Blanchard, the great unknown
8:00 p.m. Round table with the participants
Carmen Bernárdez. Professor of Art History at the Universidad Complutense.
Eugenio Carmona Mato. Chaired Professor of Art History at the Universidad de Málaga.
María Dolores Jiménez-Blanco. Professor of Art History at the Universidad Complutense.
Xon de Ros. Professor of Modern Spanish Literature at Oxford University.
María José Salazar. Curator at Museo Reina Sofía, curator of this exhibition.