Page 26 - Studio International - August 1965
P. 26

5 Spanish  Painters by Marc  Berkowitz

       Before I went to Spain for the first time, I believed                     Manolo  Millares (b. 1926 in Las Pal mas, the Canaries)
      in the rumour that modern art was flourishing there, and                   The  work  of  Manolo  Millares  is  an  expression  of  our
      that there were dozens of outstanding artists working                      time, of his time. This is not the truism it appears to be,
      in Madrid, Barcelona, and other centres. What I saw of                     because  most  artists,  though  they  obviously  feel  and
      Spanish art at the Sao Paulo Biennales of 1957 and 1959                    reflect the  events  and  undercurrents  of  the  time  they
      strengthened this conviction-quite an erroneous one, only                  live  in,  are  nevertheless  concerned  with  many  other
      as I was able to verify soon after my arrival in Spain                      Millares,  like  his  brilliant  whites  which  so  strongly
      in 1963. It is true, there were Tapies, Munoz, Saura,                      reflect the light, seems also to reflect the tragic aspects
       Millares, and several others. But there was not much else                 of our time and of his country.  White,  above all white,
      of great value. It was no movement in depth, there                         but  also  black  and  blood  red  are  the  constants  of
                                                                                 Millares' work-these colours and torn, perforated and
      was no continuity. It was simply a relatively small                        stitched shapes.  He does not try to please; he cries out,
      group of outstandingly gifted artists who happened to                      he almost hits you in the face.
                                                                                  Los Muti/ados de la Paz, or the Victims of Peace. Peace
      belong to approximately the same generation. Of                            where?  In Spain, after the  Civil War?  Throughout the
      course, one of the reasons this could happen was that                      world, after the last war? There is Millares' endless pro­
      Spain did have a glorious tradition, that Velasquez and                    cession of victims-mutilated, bloody, in pieces. Against
      Goya-to mention just two-had been Spaniards,                               the  sun-drenched  all-pervading  white  of  Millares'
      and the present Government, though in reality completely                   paintings  the  blacks  and  reds  become  even  more
                                                                                 threatening,  the forms go beyond the -framework of the
      'pompier' minded, nevertheless recognized the                              canvases  and  invade  the  surrounding  space.  Are
      propaganda value of a group of famous modern artists.                      Millares'  works  paintings,  reliefs,  sculptures?  Or  are
      On my last and longest trip to Spain I realized that                       they outcries of a strong artist against what is going on?
                                                                                  Blond,  blue-eyed and slight,  Manolo  Millares  seems
      there was no reason for me to modify my opinion. The                       the least likely person to produce works as strong as his.
      notes that follow are impressions of five of these Spanish                 But he is a man who is driven: by his convictions, by his
      artists. I could of course have mentioned quite a few                      talent,  by his sense of responsibility.  There is much he
      more, and my selection of five does not represent an                       has  to  say-and he knows  how  to  say  it.
      attempt to single out the five best ones-at least, in my
      opinion. They are simply the artists who interest me most
      at the present moment, whose work I know well,
      and whose development I have followed. Sometime in the
      near future I hope to be able to write about a few
      more of the contemporary Spanish artists-be they
      painters or sculptors. Spain still is one of the
      countries with the strongest national characteristics.                     PHOTO,  JUAN  DOLCET
      This applies to the people, the landscape, the food,
      the wines, the music, the dancing and-last, but not
      least-to all manifestations of the plastic arts.

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