Daniel Vázquez Díaz (Nerva, 1882 - Madrid, 1969) is one of the key figures of the artistic culture that develops in Spain in mid-twentieth century. Vázquez Díaz was the direct master and reference for many of the artists who made up the avant-garde and the renewal movement of the Twenties and was the paradigmatic example of those who, between 1920 and 1970, fought for a compact alliance between modernity and tradition in Spanish art. Between the late 1910s and the early 1920s Vázquez Díaz was one of the artistic creators associated with the most radical early avant-garde movements in Spain. In the early twenties, along with Gabriel García Maroto and Aurelio Arteta he lays the groundwork for an alternative construction of a "modern social realism". "Neocubism", developed from this triple sharing of experiences, begins to be spread by Vázquez Díaz in 1924, and who, in 1925, signs the Iberian Artists Society manifesto. From that point onwards his painting was erected in the very centre of aesthetic gravity for this group of artists. An expert portrait and landscape artist, he painted portraits of the most well-known personalities of the time. In 1929, Vázquez Díaz paints his most famous work, the frescoes of the "Poem of Discovery" at the monastery of La Rabida. The Franco regime would often take these paintings as an example for the consolidation of a "national aesthetic", however this work is actually in harmony with the aesthetics of the Italian Novecento and the epic realism of the Hispanic social muralism. Vázquez Díaz’s painting continues to develop a streak of measured modernity after the war. Now his painting would exist with the phobias the Franco regime manifested towards the radical avant-gardes and from the Fifties he gives himself entirely to the role of mentor and guide of a new horizon of artistic regeneration.
This retrospective is added to the exhibition the Museo dedicated to him in 1993 Vázquez Díaz. Colecciones del Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and intends to give Vázquez Díaz back his real historical and artistic profile and recover his figure and place in history. The exhibition features hundreds of oil paintings and an important collection of drawings, a discipline in which Vázquez Díaz proved to be a true master. Also, a thorough biographical study along with a comparative aesthetical study has been undertaken of the evolutionary patterns of his work, which allows us to properly relate him to the art of his time.
Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao (February 21 - May 29, 2005)