The Spanish Civil War greatly affected the country's artistic creation and prevented the natural development that would have been expected from the long, preceding artistic tradition. Spanish artists’ de facto exile and "internal exile" greatly decreased its chances, but all this does not mean that renewal or avant-garde art did not exist.
Historiography does not often recognise sufficiently the value of Spanish Art before 1940, reducing artistic contribution to academic trends and largely ignoring that Informalism and the El Paso group continues the work undertaken by artists who, despite the difficulties, remain at the forefront of innovation.
The authors of this exhibition represent the attempt to maintain the link to the avant-garde from the Twenties and Thirties. All pieces are from the period between 1940 and 1957 and are part of the Contemporary Art Collection, an example of entrepreneurial initiative and patronage which has been acquiring art since 1988. Of the three hundred and forty works from the collection, all dedicated exclusively to Spanish Art, a total of thirty-one have been selected to create an exhibition designed as a complement to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Collection.
The exhibition reflects the innovative contribution, made from the teachings of Surrealism by sculptors like Ángel Ferrant and Eudald Serra as well as some of Antoni Tàpies and Modest Cuixart’s early works. Also included are Spanish authors related to the School of Paris, such as Óscar Domínguez, Honorio García Condoy and Luis Fernández. To complement the exhibition, works produced during those years by young artists are included like Eduardo Chillida and Pablo Palazuelo while in Paris or, similar to the School of New York, with VicenteEsteban and José Guerrero.
In the exhibition you can see several works by Ángel Ferrant, such as the sculptures Cabeza de mujer (1940), Pájaro de mar, Bañista and Pescador de Sada, all from 1945 and composed of objects that he found, Mujer alegre y coqueta (1948), a mobile structure and Untitled (Serie Venecia nº 10), a piece in iron from 1958. As well as work by Ferrant there is Mujer tumbada (1945) by García Condoy, Tors (1940) by Eudald Serra, Torso (1948) by Eduardo Chillida, Homenaje a Blume (1954) by Moisés Villèlia and Homenaje a Malevitch (1957) by Jorge Oteiza. Among the paintings Composition bleu (1944) by Francisco Bores; Les solitudes I (1955) by Pablo Palazuelo; three works by Tàpies from 1952-1954; Composition fond clair (1957) by Antoni Clavé; El retrato Oro (1951) by Maruja Mallo and Canal Saint Martin (1956) by Ràfols-Casamada are exhibited.
The exhibition takes place in the Museum Collection rooms. Of all the artists on display, Ángel Ferrant is the only one who remains in Spain after the war, a link between work produced before and after the Civil War and a paradigmatic example of the interest of Spanish Art from this period.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Unión Fenosa, A Coruña (October -December, 1998); Fundació Pilar y Joan Miró, Palma de Mallorca (December, 1998 - February, 1999)