José Guerrero

Granada, Spain, 1914 - Barcelona, Spain, 1991
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  • Technique: 
    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    180 x 130 cm
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José Guerrero became fully integrated in activities of the second generation of New York School painters when he arrived in New York City in 1950. During this stage, and until his return to Spain in 1965, Guerrero redefined his painting, left behind his initial figuration and became part of the North American context through a personal combination of the action painting advocated by Willem de Kooning and Robert Motherwell and the strategies of colour field painting developed by Mark Rothko. In the early 1960s, Guerrero’s work often makes reference to cultural and geographical elements of his native country, such as in this case the Alpujarra region, in the province of Granada. Inspired by his personal process of psychoanalysis, he makes his memory the source of his work, in which archetypal elements of Andalusian culture appear repeatedly. Such elements include the colour black, to which he alluded in the following terms: “For as long as I can remember, black was always there, a part of life; it was in people, in landscape, in loneliness.” In Guerrero’s painting, colour represents a personal vocabulary, and the canvas is perceived as a space for dramatic action, along the same lines as early Abstract Expressionism; at the same time, the net treatment of the boundaries between the colour fields foreshadows a shift towards more structured painting starting in the 1970s.