20th Century Artists


Antonio Saura with Luis Feito

Antonio Saura was born in Huesca, Aragon in 1930. He began to paint, self-taught, in 1947 during a long illness. Working in complete isolation in a surrealist style, he made paintings of a mysterious, poetic world inhabited only by monstrous organic forms. His first one-man exhibition was at the Galeria Buchholz, Madrid, 1951. He spent 1954-5 in Paris, experimenting with new techniques and materials, and adopting a gestural, automatist manner of painting, showing a parallel with the work of Jackson Pollock and contemporary action painting. The brutal suppression of student demonstrations shortly after his return to Madrid in 1955 led him to adopt a violently expressionist style: taking forms inspired by the human body as his starting-point and working almost entirely in black and white. His figures can be graphically violent and humorous – in the tradition of Goya.

Catalogue cover

'Spanish Modern Masters' - Pdf catalogue of the exhibition

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