In the path taken by the artistic revival on the Spanish scene in the early decades of the twentieth century -where links to the European avant-garde are strengthened- the figure Josep de Togores (Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, 1893 - Barcelona, 1970) stands out for his defence and understanding of Cubism, in the words of specialist Eugenio Carmona, as "a pro rule and form painting" and for the way this is translated into his work. This exhibition focuses on Togores’ artistic production during the period of 1914 and 1931, years in which he moves in the avant-garde circles: from the reinterpretation of noucentisme and Joaquín Suyner’s work, in the light of Cubism as a classical language, until his extended stay in Paris (1919-1931), which included short trips to Catalonia. For this, the curator of the exhibition -Josep Casamartina- sets up a chronological and stylistic journey through Togores’ work, divided into five groups: "Around new art (1914-1918)", "Magic Realism (1919-1924)" "Search and eclecticism (1924-1927)", "Surrealism (1928-1930)" and "Return to figuration (1931)".
In Paris, Togores contacts Spanish artists (Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Manolo Hugé) and joins the artistic group Montparnasse. He collaborates with the Barcelona newspaper Vell i Nou, his articles take on a theoretical disengagement of Cubism, while his painting starts a process that moves from noucentisme classicism to a classicism with cubist origins. This affects both language and subject matter, where the female nude became his main subject, as shown in Renée et le chien (year) or Les dormeuses (year), not to mention the portrait, as in Aleix de Togores (1920) or Les joueurs billard (1920).
Throughout the Twenties, a period in which he has a contract with collector and art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, his language matures, sharing aesthetic principles with the central-European New Objectivity, Magic Realism and Italian painting from the Novecento group. Noted for his wide palette and colourism, Togores emphasises the representation of bodies from a conception of volumes and drawing, that is, from abstract conceptualisation and recreation of the visible. As Carmona says, "it was an understanding of modern classicism like in Belleza impasible that allowed Togores to find the possibilities of the objective", so realism is the result of the confluence of what is realistic with the intelligence of form, which manifests in works such as: Jeunes filles de Bandol (1922), Couple à la plage (1922) or Retrato de la familia Mestre (1927).
The exhibition addresses the radical turn Togores’ paintings take through language in 1927. Surrealist automatism and the influence of painter André Masson are the basis of this shift towards a calligraphic painting with linear figuration and enigmatic compositions that continue until 1930 with works such as Composition (1928), Le coeur (1928) and Personajes (1930). The return to figuration, dominated by colour and ornamental sense (Henri Matisse), earned him top reviews by Kanhweiler in 1931 for his "simple art, naked and pure."
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona (February 5 - April 12, 1998); Musées de Châteauroux, Couvent des Cordeliers (selection) (June 5 - September 13, 1998)
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