For the exhibition dedicated to Daniel Vázquez Díaz (Nerva, Huelva, 1882 - Madrid, 1969) the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is commissioning a project aimed at presenting the entire collection that it preserves for a determined artist. In the case of Vázquez Díaz that number reaches eighty works, and includes paintings, drawings and engravings, a large number of which are on loan to the Museo Provincial de Huelva. The strong desire of this artist to study at the Academy of San Fernando, settling in Madrid in 1903, marks the start of a career whose next step is Paris, where he learns how to submit representation to a geometric synthesis from Paul Cézanne. His assumption of cubist language turns him into one of the leading revivalists of landscape painting in Spain, developing his career both on Spanish territory and in Paris.
As evidenced by the pieces in the exhibition, Vázquez Díaz is one of the examples that Spanish art is structured on during the first half of the century. In his paintings resounding volumes are combined with the hard lines coming from both cubist grammar and the inheritance of a certain value from a pictorial tradition, such as Diego Velázquez and Francisco de Zurbarán. His qualities as a portrait painter make him the artist who defines best the faces and characters of poets, writers, historians, artists, actresses and bullfighters who have passed through and marked the French and Spanish cultural and intellectual life over the decades. In this way, his work shows such important figures as: María Guerrero, Miguel de Unamuno, Henri Barbusse, Ramón Menéndez Pidal, Manuel Moreno, Anatole France, Benito Pérez Galdós, Marcelino Mendéndez Pidal, Ramiro de Maeztu, Javier Winthuysen, Dimitri Tsapline, Sunyer, Adriano del Valle, Frascuelo and his crew, Lagartijo and Mazzantini, among others.
The exhibition also includes examples Vázquez Díaz’s large project of 1929 and 1930: the frescoes for the convent of La Rabida known as Poema del Descubrimiento. The preparatory drawings and the fresco Fragmento de los marineros reveal the stylistic closeness and aesthetic consciousness of the painter to a language that, since the New Objectivity movement, is moving towards a type of realism that, although severe, preserves the heritage of the avant-garde, in a synthesis between tradition and modernity.