The writer and philosopher Eugenio d'Ors (Barcelona, 1882 - Vilanova i la Geltrú, 1954) is one of the key figures of art criticism in Spain. He is the creator of the Noucentisme concept, which includes a large group of Catalan artists who are Renaixença (Renaissance) heirs. d'Ors has a wealth of literary, critical and historiographical production. His early writings, published in 1899, are followed by the book La muerte de Isidro Nonell (1905), which marks the beginning of a fruitful career and establishes him as an indispensable reference for Spanish intellectuals in the first half of the twentieth century.
This exhibition at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is based on the idea of museum, gallery and exhibition room recurrent in the aesthetic universe of the writer. All of this alludes to the selection and distribution of artistic productions categorised into a whole, capable of expressing the diversity of the objective world. For d'Ors the aesthetic act is not spontaneous, it falls within the rules, which change according to historical order. One of the major contributions of his theoretical body is to summarise these laws in the classic-baroque duo.
The proposed tour of this collection consists of a set of books, catalogues, monographs and articles in the press that reflect the legacy of d'Ors in the theory of art. So that his texts can been seen, some pieces from the Museo Reina Sofia collection are also exhibited which are mentioned in d'Ors’ writings. In this way, texts and writings enter into dialogue and recreate the atmosphere of an era in which the writer was actively participating.
The piece Cabeza (1904) by Isidro Nonell opens the exhibition as a precursor. It is followed La filosofia presentada per Pal·las al Parnàs (1911) by Joaquim Torres-García, El jardín (1916) by Juan Gris, El zapatero y su musa (1916-1927) by Rafael Barradas, Paisaje (1920) by Josep de Togores, El baile (1922) by André Lhote, La vuelta de la pesca (1922) by José Gutiérrez Solana and María Dolores (1926) by Joaquim Sunyer. They are joined by a bronze sculpture by Enric Casanovas Busto Femenino (Cabeza) (1929), the etching of the Vollard Suite by Pablo Picasso Mujer desnuda coronada de flores (1930) and the drawing Retrato de Eugenio d’Ors (1926) by Daniel Vázquez Diaz.
In the Thirties two sculptures are exhibited: the bronze relief Bueyes en el establo (1933) by Manolo Hugué and the bronze Maternidad (1938) by Pablo Mañé. Also exhibited is the work on paper by Joan Miró Femme et chien devant la Lune (1936) and the canvass Barcas (1938) by Carlo Carra. Works from the late forties include the carved, wooden sculpture Figura de mujer (1947) by Angel Ferrant, the bronze Niño en el mar (1947) by Francesco and the oil on paper Maascro (1949) by Modest Cuixart.
Finally, the early fifties are represented by the paintings Corcho (Estudio para Madonna de Port-Lligat) (1950) by Salvador Dalí, an untitled oil painting dated 1950 by Joan Ponç, Campesino Andaluz (1951) by Rafael Zabaleta and Noche desprendida (1952) by Antoni Tàpies.
This exhibition is also accompanied by a catalogue raisonné covering d'Ors entire production. Published in digital format, this comprehensive reference work compliments the Museum's effort to make visible the great contribution of one of the most important figures in Spanish art during the first half of the twentieth century.