Despite his short career (four years) Nicholas de Lekuona (Ordizia, 1913 - Frúniz, 1937) is known for a prolific artistic production to which the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía dedicates this exhibition.
Lekuona was a voracious reader, with an enormous curiosity for all aspects concerning cultural movements of the time. Born into a wealthy, liberal family, the artist trains in San Sebastian, where news of avant-garde art arrives and spreads through the artistic circles in the city. Interested in photography and drawing, he studies at the School of Arts and Crafts in San Sebastian and later enters the Madrid School of Technical Architecture. The feverish cultural activities in the Madrid of the Republic involved literary gatherings in studies and cafés, like the well-known tertulia del Pombo, one of Lekuona’s favourite. In the capital, his circle of friends included artists such as Jorge Oteiza, Narciso Balenciaga, Joaquín Gurruchaga and José Sarriegui.
When he completes his studies as a technical architect in 1935 he works in San Sebastian with the Florentine architect Morocoa, alternating this activity with his personal work in the study of his family home in Ordizia. With the outbreak of the Civil War Lekuona was conscripted into the National Army and dies in war at the age of 23.
Lekuona stands out because of his amazing capacity for the arts which shows early on. His production is influenced by information received from other countries through publications, conferences, exhibitions and films. Lekuona, who moves from the first School of Vallecas influences on to delve into the roots of human existence, creates an increasingly original work, in which the surreal and the dream-like becomes increasingly stronger. His pieces combine surreal elements with those from Constructivism. From the beginning, his realism, close to the Expressionism of Gutiérrez Solana, was refined in stylised and undulating figures. His themes in painting and photography focus on the environment and women while concept and form are shown with great diversity in his creations: architectural renderings, drawings, paintings, collages, posters, photographs and photomontages, fotocalquídeas (drawings made on negatives and then expanded and developed on photo paper) and even poetry, are the work of a paradigmatic artist from the Spanish avant-garde.