La Spagna dipinge il Novecento (Spain Paints the 20th Century) is the title chosen for this exhibition, which contemplates the existence of an artistic panorama that contributes significantly to Art History, despite certain historical vicissitudes. It comprises sixty works by forty-two artists from the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Collection and gives an overview, via key works, of the events in 20th century art in Spain. Furthermore, the exhibit unfolds in chronological order, beginning with a first section articulated by Pablo Picasso, one of the most universal Spanish artists.
With Paris as a backdrop, some of the artists responsible for changes in avant-garde art can be found, such as Juan Gris, María Blanchard, Pablo Gargallo and Julio González. In turn, and equally innovative, there is Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí representing the Surrealist movement; they are also joined by the fantastical realism of Francisco Bores, an emblem of the poets from the Generation of '27, along with artists such as Manuel Ángeles Ortiz, Francisco Cossío and Luis Fernández. While the French capital is bursting with waves of avant-garde art, in Madrid Alberto Sánchez and Benjamín Palencia work with landscape and subsequently form the School of Vallecas
The Spanish Civil War causes the exile of many artists. However, between 1940 and 1975 two trends can be discerned and are portrayed in this exhibition. On one side, the abstract generation, under which the El Paso group can be ascribed and where names such as Antonio Saura, Manuel Millares, Rafael Canogar and Martín Chirino predominate. Abstraction is also the common ground between members of the group from Cuenca, represented in the exhibition via works by Gerardo Rueda and Gustavo Torner.
They are joined by geometric Abstraction courtesy of Pablo Palazuelo, Informalism by Antoni Tàpies and Basque sculptures, most visibly represented by Eduardo Chillida and Jorge Oteiza. Meanwhile, figuration's resurgence can be found through artists such as Antonio López, Ramón Gaya, Manuel Valdés and Juan Genovés.
Later generations present in the exhibition correspond to a new political climate; the arrival of democracy in Spain results in Spanish artists' exposure to trends abroad, in addition to the boom of other disciplines such as photography. The artists that make up this last section and stand out for their prominent role in new sculpture include Juan Muñoz, Cristina Iglesias, Sergi Aguilar and Susana Solano. Some of the most important painters around that time that are present in the exhibition are Juan Uslé, José Manuel Broto, José María Sicilia and Miquel Barceló. Finally, José Manuel Ballester and Ángel Mateo Charris also feature as important artists on the current Spanish art scene.