Jacinto Salvado (Mont-Roig del Camp, 1892 - Le Castellet, 1983) is one of the Spanish painters who participated in the avant-garde movements attached to the School of Paris, however, his poor relationship with Spanish artists in the Parisian capital has caused an undeserved historiographical absence. The value of his work in the context of the trends of renewal among the European avant-garde has now been revised for this exhibition at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía exhibiting some of the most emblematic pieces of his career.
The starting point of this show is a gift from the widow of Salvadó, Marcelle Salvadó to the Museo Reina Sofía Collection, twenty-one pieces produced by the Catalan painter, paintings that are currently exhibited along with others from his early work which complete the exhibition and provide an overview of Savadó’s creations.
This artist’s formative years are marked by his contact with the Noucentisme in Barcelona. His interest in the technique of fresco painting during his beginnings gives him his first job after his arrival in Paris in 1919, a city he had already visited earlier when his vocation was not yet decided. Working for the painter Marcel Lenoir, Salvadó gradually begins to make a name for himself, coming into contact with artists of his generation. His training with the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle during his years studying at the academy La Grande Chaumière would be enormously enriching, he would visit avant-garde art exhibitions and meet Jacques Lipchitz and Ossip Zadkine.
José Dalmau would be the first person to offer Salvadó a solo exhibition, held in 1921. On his return to Paris he begins to work for one of the fathers of fauvism, André Derain, who had portrayed Salvadó dressed in a harlequin costume. Picasso would later ask the Catalan artist to pose for him too in a similar manner, resulting in four portraits that reach great fame. As payment Picasso sold three of Salvadó's pieces to a dealer he knew.
His participation in the Salon des Tuileries on the recommendation of critic Waldemar George led the artist to sign an exclusive contract with the prestigious gallery Bing. During the Thirties and some of the Forties, Salvadó combines abstraction and figuration. In 1931 he returns to Spain where he begins to search for his own personal language far from any artistic connection. Through the association Allianz in Zurich, to where he later moves, he would come into contact with a specific generation of artists that Salvadó would form part of and among which were names like Max Bill, Jean Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Paul Klee and Le Corbusier. During these years the Spanish artist consolidates a geometric painting that would be his style until the mid-fifties, at which point he reintroduces the figure.
After his experience from 1948 to 1956 at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles and his passage through informalism that meant a loss of media coverage, Salvadó recovers geometric abstraction in the early seventies. The decisive influence of painter Auguste Herbin and a renewed will leads the artist to create the best work of his entire production. Colour takes over his canvases and geometric compositions are strengthened and filled with personality. He holds numerous exhibitions in and outside Spain. His style now appears to be fully realised and full of freedom and innovation, continuing to the end of his days.
The nearly forty paintings collected for this exhibition are the ultimate proof of Savadó’s importance to the development of the avant-garde, an artist who was able to find the style that enabled him to eventually form part of Spanish art history.