Artists

Celso Lagar

Ciudad Rodrigo, 1891 - Sevilla, 1970

  • Composition. Nude

    1922

Celso Lagar trained in the workshop of his father, a cabinetmaker who worked on religious commissions. After short stays in Madrid and Barcelona, he was awarded a scholarship to study sculpture in Paris by the Salamanca Diputación (provincial authorities) in 1911. Not long afterwards he turned to painting. He held an exhibition at the Galerie Ashnur (1913) and installed his studio beneath the café where the poet Paul Fort’s gatherings took place in the Closerie des Lilas, which were attended regularly by Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Picasso and Modigliani (whose portrait he painted twice), among others. They all introduced him to the Parisian art scene and made possible his personal espousal of what would become known as Planism.

In 1914 Lagar returned to the Peninsula with his partner, the sculptor Hortensia Begué. In the first months of 1915 he held his first solo exhibition at the Galerías Dalmau in Barcelona and introduced the Catalan public to the first Spanish ism, a combination of Fauve, Cubist and Futurist elements. After several exhibitions – at La Cantonada, the Sociedad Athenea in Gerona and the Galerías Layetanas – in 1917 he showed his Planism at the Galería General de Arte in Madrid, although it was rejected by critics. The following year he exhibited at the Athenaeum. His compositions evolved towards more radical schemes that connected with other experiments such as the Vibrationism of Barradas, the Simultanism of the Delaunays and the heterogeneous ideas of the Ultraist movement, which did not hesitate to embrace Planism. From the capital he moved to Bilbao, where he exhibited his work on two occasions (1918 and 1919) at the premises of the Association of Basque Artists.

Back in Paris in 1919 he briefly espoused the general phenomenon of the “return to order”. He showed his works at several galleries such as Berthe Weill, Percier, Zborowski, Barreiro, Drouant and Druet, among others. However, soon afterwards he adopted a personal brand of figurative painting and turned to circus and landscape themes; his landscapes of Honfleur and Normandy are extremely well known. Deeply affected by his wife’s death in 1956, he stopped painting and was interned in a psychiatric hospital in Sainte-Anne.

Isabel García